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A CurtainUp Review
The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack charge back into the Adelphi

This is the third time I have seen The Rat Pack since its inception in 2003 and each time the show impresses me with its slick, recreation of a night in 1960 at the Sands Nightclub in Las Vegas. That latest Rat Pack show is more polished but of course it is the audience who also make this show with their infectious enthusiasm for the wonderful songs. In Giles Terera they have found an exceptional Sammy Davis Jr, a really excellent dancer who can also belt out the famous songs. Mark Adams is a characterful Dean Martin , his head bobbing affectionately, as in relaxed, faux sozzled manner, he delivers that classic line to a woman in the audience, "Do I look blurred to you?" Louis Hoover takes over as Frank Sinatra since Stephen Triffitt has gone solo and sings most of the best tunes. Charlie Bull, Lizzii Hills and Grace Holdstock are the glamorous girl group The Burelli Sisters, dressed in red satin evening frocks and long gloves and cheesy choreography for a genuine period feel.

London Production Notes for the Rat Pat Live in Las Vegas

Directed by Mitch Sebastian
With: Louis Hoover, Giles Terera, Mark Adams
Designer: Sean Cavanagh
Choreography: Mitch Sebastian
Sound Designer: Chris Whybrow
Lighting Designer: Chris Ellis
Musical Director: Barry Robinson
Vocal Supervisor: Matthew Freeman
Running time: Two hours forty minutes with one interval
Box Office: 0871 297 0749
Booking to 21st November 2009 when Christmas with The Rat Pack show will take over from 24th November 2009 to 2nd January 2010
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the performance on 28th September 2009 at the Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London WC2 (Tube: Charing Cross)

Lizzie Loveridge's original review
The satisfaction that I get out of working with these two bums is that we have more laughs than the audience.
-- Dean Martin
It seemed as if the audience at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket were in denial. They had come to see three of the entertainment greats of the twentieth century, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The programme states The Rat Pack, live from Las Vegas. Of course we know that all three shuffled off this mortal coil in the 1990s but that night in the Theatre Royal it was as if they hadn't. They were there onstage, both sound and look alikes, presenting some of the best tunes of the century, live. The audience even applauded the start of songs as if these were the real people, the real thing.

If you have moral or aesthetic objections to what is essentially a twentieth century phenomenon, the tribute show, then The Rat Pack is not for you. It does nothing more and nothing less than to recreate a night at the Sands Night Club in Vegas in 1960. There is no insight as to why Dean Martin drank so heavily, or how Sammy Davis felt about the jokes directed at him and what exactly was Sinatra's connection with the Mob. There is simply the music and the jocular ad-libbed repartee that endeared the three friends to their audience.

The music of course is just marvellous. From Davis' (George Long) rendition of "Mr Bojangles" which almost had the hairs standing up on my neck to Sinatra's classic repertoire, "New York, New York", "The Lady is a Tramp". Stephen Triffit is vocally a very good imitation of Sinatra and Sinatra's easy style. Mark Adams' Dino is very charismatic from his entrance with "That's Amore" to "Sway".

The nearer you sit, the less convincing are the three visually especially considering the huge backdrop portraits of the real guys, but I am near sighted and removing my glasses, I could pretend I too was watching the originals. The hairdresser has made a superb job of the hair.

Sammy Davis Jr's dance routine is scintillating. George Long is slight of stature and as agile as the great entertainer "Smokey". All three guys authentically grapple with the, now unnecessary, long microphone leads trailing them as they cross and criss-cross the stage. Dino and Davis sing the duet "Shall We Dance" from The King and I and frolic onstage. The three dancing girls in support have more feathers than a pillow factory and are delightfully tacky and mistimed in the dance moves.

There are pastiche numbers, new words to old tunes as in "When You're Drinking" to the tune of "When You're Smiling" Much of Dean Martin's humour centres around the Jack Daniels bottle. "I like to keep in shape. Right now I'm on a whisky diet. Last week I lost four days." Some of the comedy falls flat because we know they cannot be adlibbing and anyway they are not Frank, Dean and Sammy.

I cut my reviewing teeth on the musicals that fill regional theatres, homages to Buddy and Elvis, Roy Orbison and Eddie Cochrane. I know the pleasure these performances can bring for people, maybe in some sense recapturing their youth. "The Rat Pack" will give you that sort of nostalgia. The music sounds right, the orchestrations from the 15 piece orchestra are the ones you love and the performances are very good . . . . but it is all make believe.

The Rat Pack Editor's Note: No author or concept credit provided

Directed by Mitch Sebastian

With: Stephen Triffit, George Long, Mark Adams, Nikki Stokes, Giselle Wright, Nikki Belsher, Rebecca Parker
Designer: Sean Cavanagh
Choreography: Mitch Sebastian
Lighting Designer: Mark Wheatley
Musical Director: Barry Robinson
Vocal Supervisor: Matthew Freeman
Running time: Two hours forty five minutes with one interval
Box Office: 0870 901 3356
Booking to 24th May 2003
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 18th March 2003 performance at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London SW1 (Tube/Rail Station: Piccadilly Circus)
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