Wednesday, 29 October 2003

The Rat Pack - Direct From Vegas, Oct 29, 2003

The Rat Pack - Direct From Vegas
 by Direct From Vegas Productions Inc.  

 Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, Oct 29 to Nov 9, 2003

Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Published in Herald Sun, Melbourne, Oct 2003

The Rat Pack is back and they are in fine form. Frank Sinatra,  Dean Martin  and Sammy Davis Jr.  make a posthumous comeback in Direct From Vegas.

The performers (Gary Corsello, Steve Apple, Lonnie Parlor) playing the trio are fair look-alikes for the originals but it is their voices that make the show extraordinary.

Close your eyes during Corsello's rendition of Lady Is A Tramp  or New York, New York,  and you would think Ol' Blue Eyes was in the room.

This tribute show is based on the six years of shows performed by the original Rat Pack in The Copa Room  at The Sands Hotel and Casino  in Las Vegas  from 1960.

They were friends by day and drinking and carousing mates by night. When they shot Ocean's Eleven  in the Copa Room in 1960, they started playing ad libbed shows at night. The combination was dynamite for an audience.

The original group also included comedian, Joey Bishop  and actor, Peter Lawford.  However, it is the voices and antics of Sinatra, Martin and Davis that make this show.

Corsello, Apple and Parlour studied the Rat Pack and much of the dialogue and interaction is lifted from their original shows. At times the patter feels a little stilted. It is almost impossible to reproduce improvised banter with the ease of its first moment.

Current artists would never get away with the jokes and jibes of these guys in the 60's. They are riddled with sexism, racism, alcoholism, anti-Semitism and sizeism.  Davis is constantly teased for being short, black and Jewish.

The political correct police would lock it down in thirty seconds. But their camaraderie and genuine love of each other made it all a positive experience. The Rat Pack adored and admired each other and it shows even in the reproduction.

Corsello does justice to tunes such as Come Fly With Me, My Way and I've Got You Under My Skin.

Apple recreates the easy wicked, faux drunkenness of Martin and croons with finesse his famous toons including That's Amore and Embraceable You.

He captures Dino's charm, charisma and style, delivering his gags and naughty lyrics with absolute accuracy and delight.

Parlour, as Davis, is a great fol for the Sinatra and Dino pair. Although he does not have the vaudeville dance skills of the original, his jazzy versions of Old Black Magic,  Mr. Bojangles and The Candy Man conjure up the dancing Davis.

There is also a classy twelve piece band on stage under the musical direction of pianist, John Peace.

This is a nostalgia show that invokes the spirits of the Rat Pack for our delectation.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment