Direct from numerous sell-out seasons in London’s West End and on tour over the last two decades, this Olivier-nominated show returns to Birmingham. Devised, directed and choreographed by Mitch Sebastian, this show could not be in finer shape. Frank, Sammy and Dean are back in town and sounding as superb as ever.
Garett Philips is sensational as the legendary Frank Sinatra. His voice and persona matches this icon down to a T and is by far one of the best and most accurate tributes to any artist I have heard. From his opener Luck Be A Lady to the final encore My Way, he is simply on a level above the rest and his performance is larger than life. With a catalogue of songs that make you want to sing along, we are happy to resist and purely listen to Philips belt out these famous tunes in the extraordinary way that he does.
From the moment he steps on stage David Hayes is an uplifting bundle of energy that brings life into the show as Sammy Davies Jr. Not only can he move well, but he is a great singer and a mischievous comic. The audience gasped with excitement as he introduced the legendary song Mr Bojangles by which he brilliantly matched those expectations with one of the most wonderful covers I’ve seen, and later bought the same spine-tingling effect with What Kind of Fool Am I.
Nigel Casey oozes charm as Dean Martin. He is charismatic, a brilliant crooner and brings humour as he progressively becomes intoxicated throughout the night by the act two opener When You’re Drinkin’. Also his interaction with The Burelli Sisters (played by Amelia Adams-Pearce, Laura Darton and Joanna Walters) is a delightful treat during That’s Amore, Good Evening Mr Martin and Sway. Throughout the rest of the show, the sisters sing and dance as a gorgeous, terrific trio that constantly light up the stage.
Individually this Rat Pack are stunning vocalists and performers. But together their light-hearted banter and shared presence is on point, filled with witty one-liners about sex, alcohol and alleged organised crime while constantly downing drinks with cigarettes in hand. Whenever they’re together we are rocking in our seats with laughter, as if we are watching this famous trio comeback for real.
For this tour, the show features an appearance to celebrate the centenary of Ella Fitzgerald, played by Nicola Emmanuelle, who is glorious in both her presence and performance. Her voice is marvellous and commands the stage during her solo number Night and Day along with her duets with Frank and Sammy; The Lady is a Tramp, S’Wonderful and for a personal favourite of mine during the encore Mack The Knife.
The real star of this show however is the incredible big band led by pianist Matthew Freeman and made up of a quartet of saxophonists, a five-piece brass section and a drummer. Hearing this excellent band with these fantastic performers restores faith in live music from the golden age of swing, jazz and crooning. The production is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys the nostalgia of 40’s and 50’s music, but above all terrific entertainment.
The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas runs at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 31st March.
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