The Rat Pack live from Las Vegas

22 Dec

THE RAT PACK
Live from Las Vegas
Directed and choreographed by Mitch Sebastian.

The boys are back – well, not quite. The three main characters in this cabaret have good voices and can impersonate the three guys vocally. Although Sammy David Junior (David Hayes) is probably the nearest vocally and, if you shut your eyes, you can imagine Sammy – except of course for the fact that although facially he resembles him, he does not don tap shoes- and that is a real disappointment.
It is also worrying- probably only to me, that there are inaccuracies in the lyrics. Simple things that stand out “Faithful friends who are near to us will be near to us once more?” Maybe not everyone will notice – are they banking on that? Also “A hole in the head” is not the same as “a kick in the head”. The problem is that when you do a number – it is essential to think like an actor to make sure the words make sense.
These guys are at such a disadvantage. If you are a star personality it is quite fun to fool around, but if you are pretending to be someone else – a disadvantage to begin with – and then you start fooling around it becomes a waste of time.
In the same way Sinatra – who had years of experience hitting the notes right in the middle and learning all his lyrics – if he wants to fiddle around with the tune, change the words that is fun. If someone pretending to be Sinatra does it, it is irritating.
Dean Martin (Nigel Casey) is charming, with raffish good looks and a wonderful voice with unusual timbres. I suppose it makes sense for him to forget his lyrics. I would love to see him in something else.
Sinatra is the leader of the pack. Garrett Phillips’ first number is “The lady is a tramp”. He sings dice games instead of crap games = why? It adds nothing to the song. Was the word crap considered bad language in the fifties?
The orchestra is magnificent under the direction of Matthew Freeman who has devised some exceptionally effective musical arrangements. A joy to hear so much brass and members of the orchestra get chances to do solo work – much to the joy of the audience who save a lot of their applause for the musicians.
The Burelli sisters are a fictional group to give the show an excuse to have a little girl power and to accompany Dean Martin in his numbers. They are a fairly constant presence in glamorous costumes, harmonising the odd vocals and performing some dance routines.
It is important to realise that this is based on the Rat Pack shows set in a different age, but the script seems a little tired and it would have been better to pick a few more interesting gags that the cast would find more comfortable. They often seem to be making excuses for the jokes.
There are three Sinatras who appear in turn, two Sammy’s and two Deans. The producers have thrown quite a bit of money at this show. A brilliant band, great costumes and a star cloth. Next month they are adding an Ella Fitzgerald to the mix.
The audience seemed happy. It’s a big night out but for me it could have been better. I have seenthe similar show several times before and was more impressed.

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