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Thursday, 15 March 2018

REVIEW: The Rat Pack ★★★★ at Sunderland Empire


The Rat Pack – Live From Las Vegas ★★★★
Sunderland Empire
Until Saturday 17th March 2018

A show that takes you back to the glory days of swing. A time before the Beatles or rock n roll. When the stars wore suits and ties. A time when different singers sang the hits that songwriters created. But only Frank delivered My Way.


We are big fans of live music so it was a great pleasure to see a fabulous and talented 12 piece band on stage. They didn't put a foot wrong for the duration of the 2 hour set.


This is a tribute concert to the original "Rat Pack" Dean Martin, Sammy Davies Junior and, of course, the leader of the pack Frank Sinatra.

Each act begins with a funny voice over trying to suggest Frank had no criminal connections. "Frank" (Garrett Phillips) is the first to appear and the soothing golden tones washed over the Sunderland crowd in a pleasant way. 


"Sammy" (David Hayes) is conceived as the joker in the pack. Funnily enough, he is presented as a bit of an outsider in some ways. Perhaps that is just my interpretation of the on stage banter that proliferates the show. Mr Bojangles was one highlight of his contribution.


Finally, with an alcohol dependency which is flagged up at regular intervals, along comes Dean Martin (Keiron Crook) who also gets a chance to shine on some classic hits such as That’s Amore and Everybody Loves Somebody. The Burelli Sisters also appear at regular interval with some stunning outfits to match their complementary voices.


And what hits they were! Tonight we get to enjoy New York New York, The Lady Is A Tramp, The Old Black Magic and my favourite of the evening Mack The Knife. The hits are very much of that era and are well worth another listen.


In the second act "Ella Fitzgerald" (Nicola Emmanuel) joins the party.  With a couple of duets to add to her solo number, she is off the stage oh so quickly which was a real shame.


The show has great musicianship and knows what it is aiming to do: to replicate the Vegas shows and to perform the hits that made these 4 famous. Added into the mix are jokes and scripted banter to show off their on stage chemistry. It is a show of it’s time. The performers smoke and drink on stage, the conversation isn’t always politically correct so it feels more dated in some ways.


The Rat Pack - Live From Las Vegas is a pleasing performance.  A live band and some engaging singers take you back to a simpler time. The songs have stood the test of time, especially the show closer My Way.

Review by Stephen Oliver

Tickets:

Tickets on sale now and available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on
0844 871 3022* or online from our affiliates ATG Tickets at
www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland*
*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings



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