Having just got back from Las Vegas, and my husband being a big swing fan, we were very excited by the prospect of this show. I recognised a fair few of the songs in the programme and I know a little bit about the style and the era, so I was sure I was going to enjoy it, even without being an expert or a huge fan.
The main focus of the show, is of course Frank Sinatra, played by Garrett Phillips. In looks, talking voice and technical singing Phillips is Frank. However there was something missing. He just didn’t command the stage in the way that Frank would have done, and although all of the stars, including David Hayes as Sammy Davis Jr and Nigel Casey as Dean Martin, nail the mannerisms of their characters, it often feels as though they are just going through the motions and not really feeling it, which means at times it comes across a little fake and flat.
At times, the ‘banter’ between the men seemed a little too rehearsed and some of it was a little pantomime. For example, Dean was falling over ‘drunk’ a lot and although the audience laughed, it came across a little stilted. Hayes’ Sammy mannerisms were great most of the time, but occasionally came across a little over the top and like a caricature.
That said, the show was funny. There were a few jokes (delivered best by Dean, a little awkward from Sinatra) that landed well although some were a little bit too ‘of the time’ and didn’t really work as well with a more socially conscious audience. Sammy addressed his race and religion in a light, almost satirical way, which seemed appropriate, however, some of the jokes that were aimed at Sammy from the other guys seemed a little unnecessary and awkward.
The three Burelli sisters (Amelia Adams-Pearce, Rebecca Parker, Joanna Walters) are very beautiful, glamorous and elegant, and the stage lit up when they were on, which was sadly not enough. There were a few occasions when the ladies were stood to the side of the stage singing, almost off into the wings and barely lit which was a shame.
Nicola Emmanuelle as Ella Fitzgerald was divine. The voice, the costume, the stage presence. She was wonderful. She came out just in time as the trio needed a bit of a pick me up.
The band were technically fantastic in their arrangement, but again, they seemed to lack personality and soul. They played all the expected tunes, such as New York, New York, Mr Bojangles, Lady is a Tramp, Fly Me to the Moon etc.
Overall, it was an acceptably enjoyable show, if a little awkward at times with the portrayal of the characters. Fans of the music will be pacified, but if you are a big fan of the Rat Pack themselves, you might be disappointed.
Reviewer: Codie Louise
Reviewed: 20th February 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★