The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
If Coachella’s successful Tupac hologram a few years back suggests anything, it was that in the future we would be able to see more of our favourite late musicians live, albeit not in the flesh. For now, though, we have theatrical recreations such as that of Frank Sinatra (Garrett Phillips), Sammy Davis Jr (David Hayes), Dean Martin (Nigel Casey) and, as of this week, Ella Fitzgerald (Nicola Emmanuelle) in The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas, currently running at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
The Rat Pack need no introduction and they don’t provide one either, with Sinatra launching straight into Luck Be a Lady when the show begins. The actor bears a striking physical resemblance to the entertainer and has an uncannily similar singing voice too. Those two compliments can be applied to all the performers, who go beyond playing dress-up and really embody the legends they’re portraying, mannerisms and all. A couple of times where Casey and Phillips spoke a little too quietly off-mic didn’t affect their overall performance, whereas Hayes could be heard from anywhere.
The jokes and banter in between all the singing and dancing numbers maintain their amusement some 50 years later. Dean Martin has the most gut-busting punchlines. The handful of references to gangsters in the audience may have been a cause for concern back in the 60s but have now transmogrified to a chucklesome cultural callback.
Being a replica of a concert in a theatre production, The Rat Pack leaves one desiring some more theatrical scenarios or at least more audience engagement. However, if director Mitch Sebastian’s chosen framework is what gives the show its verisimilitude then that’s fine because, before we enter the hologram age completely, this is the closest one can get to seeing the Rat Pack live. And it’s a delight.
Photo: Betty Zapata
The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 9th January until February 3rd 2018. Book your tickets here.