Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, three legendary singers collectively known as the Rat Pack, although this is a name they never referred to themselves as, are back in town. Well actually their persona are, taking to the stage in the form of Garrett Phillips, Kieron Crook and David Hayes. Set in the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas and with a live band at the rear of the stage and pianist/musical supervisor Matthew Freeman accompanying them, we are taken back to the 1960's for an evening of easy listening. The band were amazing and set at the right pitch never drowning out the artistes as is often the case with a big band sound.
'Ol' Blue Eyes' as Sinatra was often known as, is first on stage and Phillips gives an outstanding performance throughout the evening, not only does he have more than a passing resemblance in looks, but he has mastered the mannerisms and performing songs such as 'I've Got You Under My Skin' and 'New York, New York’ there is no doubt he has the voice too.
Hayes looking dapper in a blue suit, follows with 'The Old Black Magic and an amazing 'Mr Bojangles'. There are many one liners and Hayes works hard on recreating Davis Jr's energy and style and just about succeeds.
The Burelli Sisters trio although fictional, represent the style of backing singers back in the day and add glamour and interest to the show as they flit on and off the stage, ably accompanying the crooners in song and dance.
A fabulous portrayal as Dean Martin is given by White and his drunken antics endear him to the audience (although I am sure not a drop has touched his lips!). Singing Martin's signature tune 'Everybody Loves Somebody’ I was swept away by his presence and likeness to the star and loved the renditions of 'That's Amore' and 'On An Evening In Roma'. White captures his personality and has the same baritone vocals and I particularly enjoyed his performance.
Also appearing in the show this evening is the remarkable Nicola Emmanuel as Ella Fitzgerald. I am not actually familiar with her sound so cannot comment on likeness but nevertheless Emmanuel has incredible vocals and enhances the show greatly, I would have liked to hear more from her.
The first half is slow to get going and the show works much better after the interval when all three entertainers are on stage together with easy going banter and relaxed style.
As a representation of the Rat Pack there was a definite 'bromance' in the air this evening and it works as a show for lovers of the crooners and big band music, however, for me, something was missing, I wanted to see more of the personalities and more oomph, and it was a shame this was only achieved with the finale song of 'My Way' with Phillips.
The show continues at The Empire Theatre Liverpool until Saturday 17th February 2018 and for tickets and further information:
Reviewer: Lorna Weekes
Reviewed: 13th February 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★