Review: The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular, The Playhouse

The all new rat pack had a shaky start but Roman Marek couldn't fail to impress as Frank Sinatra
The all new rat pack had a shaky start but Roman Marek couldn't fail to impress as Frank Sinatra
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The Rat Pack is back, trying to recreate a touch of Vegas glamour in a packed Playhouse on Saturday night in Edinburgh.

***

First impressions were far from inspiring. When a show bills itself as a “Spectacular” it creates a certain level of expectation in the audience with regard to the set and lighting, and this show fell well short in that department.

Things did not improve much with the arrival on stage of our Dean Martin for the night, Wayne Kennedy. Throughout the opening number he seemed more concerned with establishing his tipsy persona than delivering a convincing vocal performance.

However, after this early set-back the quality picked up with the arrival of Sammy Davis Jnr. What he lacked in a physical similarity to Sammy he more than made up for with his strong voice and charisma, his performance of Mr Bojangles providing one of the high points of the evening.

But of course, the success of a show like this is always going to judged largely on the performance of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself and this proved to be the evening’s trump card. You might recognise Roman Marek from his acting and X-Factor past, but tonight he truly embodied the spirit and charm of Frank Sinatra. Vocally the strongest of the trio, his attention to detail in replicating Sinatra’s mannerisms and vocal inflections was impressive, and his physical resemblance completed the picture.

With such an impressive back catalogue of hits to draw on it was no surprise that the classics were delivered thick and fast, highlights including My Way, Come Fly with Me, That’s Life and Jack the Knife.

Added to the mix was a short (if slightly incongruous) cameo by Marilyn Monroe, four Vegas showgirls and some excellent backing from the Rat Pack Band throughout. There was plenty of well-rehearsed and entertaining banter between the performers, although some of the jokes were of the same vintage as the songs themselves.

But by the time we got to the obligatory encore of New York, New York the entire audience was on its feet, with any initial misgivings long forgotten.