The Ratpack – Live from Las Vegas to January 21
Wyndham’s Theatre, 32 Charing Cross Road,, London WC2H 0DA until January 21
Mon – Sat 7.30 Thu & Sat 3.30
Runs 2hr 15 One interval
TICKETS: 0844 482 5136
Review: William Russell 21 December
Dead is more like it
Anyone who wonders what it is like to be a force fed foie gras goose need go no farther than attend this ghastly tribute show, back in town in two instalments, a Christmas one and a New Year one.
The Ratpack ran in London for three years, starting in 2002, moving to seven theatres – this is the eighth, a record – and then went on to tour for ever and a day. The secret of carbon copy shows in which performers imitate the great originals, well or badly, is simple – a good on stage band, and the on stage band under Matthew Freeman is very good indeed, plus the songs they sang, also often very good indeed.
But time has not been kind to Frank, Dean and Sammy – their Vegas act, if what we see is a simulacrum, was terrible, a mix of bad jokes about Dean’s drinking, Frank’s bossiness, Sammy’s colour and the fact he was Jewish. Nor are things helped by their backing group, a trio of leggy chorines called The Burelli Sisters – send for the Bevs, please. The girls, patently nice, playing the three are called upon to play outdated sexy while wearing costumes which explain why bras got burnt and feminism rose.
Of the men, Giles Terera as Sammy comes off best, largely because Davis is not an iconic figure so what he does is fresher. Watching the dead behind the eyes Stephen Triffit and Mark Adams as Frank and Dean go through the motions of resurrecting the pair’s past hits, one feels a singalong with Burke and Hare would be preferable. But the audience adored it.
Frank Sinatra: Stephen Triffit
Sammy Davis Jr: Giles Terera
Dean Martin: Mark Adams
Helvetia Burelli: Soophia Foroughi
Martha Burelli: Frankie Jenna
Connie Burelli: Grace Holdstock
Director/Choreographer: Mitch Sebastian
Designer: Sean Cavanagh
Musical Supervisor: Matthew Freeman
Costume Designer: Christopher Woods