Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas With The Rat Pack – Live From Las Vegas

With the three main men from the Rat Pack all having inconveniently finished their ‘last one for the road’ back in the 1990’s there’s a booming industry in recreating that old school Vegas vibe these days with dozens (hell, maybe hundreds) of performers stepping into the shoes of Messers Davis, Martin and Sinatra. Any tribute show comes with an immediate and unavoidable slice of cheese (not always a bad thing), but if the impersonators do a decent job, well, a helluva good time can be had by all. Approaching this current touring version of the Rat Pack show with this in mind the cast did indeed do an impressive job of reanimating the legends. It probably helps if you’re not an obsessive Sammy, Frank or Dean fan...I guess you’d spend most of the trying to spot the difference if you were. As a casual fan of at least two of the three the voices and mannerisms seemed pretty spot on to me though.

There are several Franks, Sammys and Deans in the current touring show and I guess they rotate from venue to venue. Here in Birmingham we got Stephen Triffitt, simply one of the best Sinatra’s in the biz and the perfect leader of the pack for the night’s entertainment. Amongst some fine solo spots (Sammy’s Mr Bojangles was particularly impressive) the group numbers were the most fun, capturing the legendary banter that made the original pack such a riot. The addition of a female trio, The Burelli Sisters, added more than a little sass to proceedings and they’re frankly good enough to carry a show on their own, some superb vocal harmonies, suitably festive and glamorous costumes and simple but effective choreography all delivered with oodles of energy.

It’s da toons dat really make da show of course. On top of the aforementioned Mr Bojangles you’ve got everything from That’s Amore and Volare, slurred to perfection by Dean, to the perennial Christmas party favourite New York New York (normally played just as Cheryl from Accounts has vomited into the punch bowl before copping off with...well...anyone actually). Plus, as this is Christmas With The Rat Pack there’s a flurry of Santa-tastic tracks of course including Frank’s take on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas accompanied in fine style, as were all the songs tonight, by The Rat Pack Big Band. Trust me, ‘yule’ love it and‘rats’ a fact (how many more puns can I shoehorn into this? ‘Franks’ for asking...).

Christmas With The Rat Pack is on at the New Alexandra Theatre until 3rd December.

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