The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas
Paul Johnson | 13 Feb 2012 16:14pm
If you think you are going to see a musical when you book tickets for ‘The Rat Pack LIve from Las Vegas’ you will be disappointed, because as a piece there is no story-line. Instead you are taken back to another era with the now legendary trio: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr playing ‘live’ at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas. Live being an amusing term as all three died before the end of the last century! The touring Rat Pack Live, has become an incredibly successful tribute show, which makes regular return visits to the West End as well as travelling the country entertaining thousands of fans of the famous three and probably creating thousands more! The music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr is timeless and seems to be enjoyed by young and old alike, although the majority of the audience at the Orchard in Dartford when I attended the performance were the over 50s.
One of the great skills of the three impersonators is the way they manage to work the crowd so successfully, and despite the fact that we were always aware that these were basically mimics, the show still managed to be both enjoyable and entertaining. The familiarity of the individuals and music endeared us to the performers and we were on their side from the moment the show opened with the classic ‘Lady is a Tramp’. As a trio they have been performing together since 2003 and they clearly have a rapport which makes the performance both warm and funny. Stephen Triffit as Frank Sinatra has an uncanny resemblance to the great man himself, and handles the songs effortlessly, replicating Sinatra’s vocal inflections and mannerisms remarkably. Mark Adams as Dean Martin, juggles cigarettes, whiskey and a long, trailing microphone cable in a way which is so reminiscent of the time, but which left us wondering whether the Health and Safety Officer was somewhere in the wings having a heart attack! George Long, as Sammy Davis Jr., has to accomplish the most, combining singing, tap dancing and putting up with a series of racist jokes, which would now be considered politically incorrect, but helped to create a sense of the period. ‘The Rat Pack Live’ is about more than just showcasing their songs – we see the drinking, the anti-semitism and the references to organised crime; particularly in the second half, where the banter between the characters plays a key part in helping to maintain our belief in them as individuals. I am sure that Mark Adams was drinking coloured water/cold tea but by the end his misplaced footing and fluffed lines was becoming more and more believable. The extremely attractive Burelli sisters smooched their way around the stage in suitably sexy and glamorous costumes, although my heart was in my mouth as they sashayed down the stairs in long red dresses which caught under their heels and made me wonder whether this was the final nail in the coffin for the health and safety co-ordinator. They certainly added the glamour needed and clearly knew which side their bread was buttered as they danced away the evening with the leads. The 12-piece live band under the musical direction of Matthew Freeman were impressive and integral to the success of the show as they recreated the sounds of the 1960s, filling the auditorium with that inimitable ‘big band’ sound and always seeming to be aware of the moments when the stars of the show had clearly gone ‘off script’ and were just having a good time -which was exactly what the audience were doing – me included!
- : admin
- : 07/02/2012