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Christmas with the Rat Pack - Adelphi Theatre (Review)

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CHRISTMAS Vegas-style can now be found in the West End – at the Adelphi Theatre – where The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas has given way to Christmas with the Rat Pack.

The shows are, of course, similar – both attempt to re-create a time when Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin (aka The Rat Pack) were the toast of Las Vegas with their unique shows; shows in which they would not only sing but also clown around and crack booze filled jokes, usually at each other’s expense.

Many of the numbers are the same but then you couldn’t really have Sinatra without New York, New York, Davis without Mr Bojangles or Martin without That’s Amore. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of new material, including Christmas songs such as Baby It’s Cold Outside, Winter Wonderland and Let It Snow.

And Louis Hoover, complete with his infectious Ricky Gervais grin, is back as Old Blue Eyes. Davis and Martin, however, come courtesy of Jason Pennycooke and Craige Els respectively.

Although not remotely alike in looks, Pennycooke nonetheless captures the mannerisms and artistry of Davis to such an extent that he is almost – but not quite – believable. And he certainly adds zing to the role.

Els, on the other hand, fails to convince, mainly because he takes Martin’s charm and casual manner over the edge so that it becomes effiminate and just a little bit camp. A pity because he has a fine voice and invariably does justice to Martin’s well loved repertoire. Besides you have to admire someone who can sit on a stool that isn’t there!

Once again helping matters along and providing some Vegas style glamour are The Burelli Sisters – Charlie Bull, Grace Holdstock and Lizzii Hills – who positively sizzle in colourful curve hugging costumes. And the on-stage band is as good as ever.

Christmas with the Rat Pack is entertaining, good to look at – thanks to Sean Cavanagh’s sparkling set – and will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit. And although it’s a fitting tribute to three superstars who were also great friends, I came away wishing that I’d been one of the fortunate few who’d seen the real thing. And that I guess, speaks volumes.

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