The Rat Pack Hit The West End: It Was A Very Good Show
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Any Sinatra fan will tell you how they long to step inside that seminal 1966 album Sinatra at the Sands. To fill their stomachs with ribeye and Jack Daniel's, their nostrils with Lucky Strikes, and their ears with a dose of Ol' Blue Eyes, backed by Count Basie's too-cool-for-school orchestra.
The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas gets you pretty near, throwing Sammy Davis Jr (David Hayes) and Dean Martin (Nigel Casey)* into the cocktail — and rattling through the songbook. New York, New York; That's Amore; Fly Me to the Moon; What Kind of Fool Am I; the mother-jazzing lot.
Garrett Phillips' Sinatra baritone is uncanny, his manner unfaltering, as his jesters-in-crimes do their best to throw him off-kilter, by clattering on stage with the liquor trolley and flashing their sock suspenders. Fortunately, Sammy and Deano's singing voices are bang on the money too; these are clowns with style and substance.
The show, thank god, doesn't take itself seriously, narrative or otherwise (something that got our goat in Motown the Musical), yet never strays on the wrong side of farce. True, a couple of Davis Jr's politically incorrect gags will make you loosen your tie, if you happen to be wearing one, as will Deano's dame-chasing capers. But remember, it's a recreation of that era, foibles and all. Anyway, a star turn from Nicola Emmanuelle's stunning Ella Fitzgerald, helps disperse the eau de bachelor pad.
It might sound something stupid, but this really does feel like an evening spent with the boys.
The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas, at Theatre Royal Haymarket until 3 February 2018. Tickets from £15. *Performers vary on the night.
Last Updated 16 January 2018