Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Three of the biggest names that showbiz has ever seen. Now you can get a glimpse into what it was like to watch them share a stage, right here in Edinburgh (which may lack Vegas’ weather but it has just as much questionable entertainment this time of the year!). The Rat Pack – Live have been delighting Fringe audiences for a decade now and it’s clear why 21 Theatre’s production keeps reeling in audiences.
As the show opens Hugo Joss Catton plays a fabulously fun Dean Martin with huge eyebrows and a mischievous grin. He greats the audience and warms us up, with many an endearing, if overused, wink before Alistair Nwachukwu takes over the stage as the lovable Sammy Davis Jr. The headliner is of course Sinatra, played by the handsome and ever so charming Jamie Chidzey, a recent Masters graduate from the Royal Academy of Music.
The three leads are fabulous singers, a vocal highlight being Chidzey’s ‘My Way’, but their acting and characterisation is also nothing to be sniffed at. There is something about people singing in character that is such fun to watch and the trio certainly brought the goods. In jacket and bow tie, glass of whisky in hand and a disarming smile, Chidzey never stopped playing Sinatra, even when getting an audience member to come over and play his bartender, pouring glass after glass of Jack Daniels, (or apple juice? Who’s to say!) and when cheekily flirting with the band.
The audience, not huge but not bad for the start of Fringe, sings, sways and claps along to hit after hit. “The Rat Pack – Live” is an indulgent treat for any swing fan, but even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a lover of the genre you are likely to have a great time and realise you know all the words to a good portion of the songs. The young band is fabulous as are the two female singers who join the boys on stage for the last few songs. And the costume and set, if not quite as luxurious as the object of their imitation, do the job.
This isn’t just a concert or even your average tribute act, the performers have given their all to fully recreate their inspirations with great charm. And to summon up the atmosphere of those nights back in the 50s. Well, best they can when performing to the more elderly portion of Fringe goers rather than a room full of the rich and glamorous.