Review: The Definitive Rat Pack in Dublin
The Definitive Rat Pack, National Concert Hall, Dublin
Christmas arrived early for fans of louche lounge-pop and groan-worthy one-liners as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr swaggered onto a stage demurely accessorised with giant, tinsel-strewn trees.
So smooth was the performance, a blur of tuxedos, clinking scotch tumblers and Vegas tans, it didn’t really matter that “Frank”, “Dean” and “Sammy” were, in reality, a trio of British lounge crooners named Stephen, Mark and George.
Cover bands can be hit and miss, especially when the singers insist on staying in character during that segment of the evening set aside for “banter”. Yet the Definitive Rat Pack walked the walk, with Stephen Triffitt evoking Sinatra’s irresistible smarm, Mark Adams channeling Martin’s raffishness and George Daniel Long capturing the sadness that glimmered just behind Davis Jr’s grin.
True, the quips, mostly courtesy of “Sinatra”, were dead on arrival and Martin’s lovable lush routine audibly creaked. Alcoholism isn’t really punchline material in 2016.
The singing, however, was irresistible. I’ve Got You Under My Skin, written by Cole Porter and later a Sinatra signature, approximated the exquisite ache of the original, the drama ratcheted by a swinging big band. A knockabout version of Harry Warren and Jack Brooks’ That’s Amore, meanwhile, tapped Martin’s knockabout charisma.
As advertised, there were Christmas songs by the sack-full too: Triffitt and Long dueted on Edward Pola and George Wyle’s It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and the Hollywood smiles they sported through Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town cranked the cheese factor to eleven.
Only a confirmed Scrooge could resist.