Review: The Definitive Rat Pack by The British Theatre Playhouse
The OGs of cool
What constitutes a great night out in Singapore? An intimate dinner in a small, no-reservations restaurant, throwing back a couple of drinks in a cocktail bar that's only frequented by certain circles and then a table at a rooftop bar or club to bank in on one bitching view of the skyline. But if you've been there, done that and received one too many t-shirts, perhaps a look back in time is in order. We're not just counting on emo nights and indie '80s hits, nor are we longing for a return of Mambo Jambo — but a change of scenery that includes a certain Sinatra.
Or maybe two Sinatras, if you're into that sort of thing. Thanks to Cecilia Leong-Faulkner, the founder and managing director of The British Theatre Playhouse, this was possible. Having brought some of the best stars of London's West End last June, Leong-Falkner and her team have moved on from the biggest musicals (The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Chicago, Miss Saigon, West Side Story) to the Stateside '60s. Staging The Definitive Rat Pack, the British Theatre Playhouse brought three actor-singers who personified Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. There's also Nancy Sinatra to boot.
The Olivier Award-nominated trio starred three British artists, Stephen Triffitt, Mark Adams and George Daniel Long, who brought with them the glamourous swagger of Sinatra, Martin and Davies Jr. respectively. Held at the Grand Ballroom of One Farrer Hotel & Spa, its gala night was attended by President Halimah Yacob who sat at a prime spot for the opening rendition of Sinatra's 'Love and Marriage'. Triffitt — a seasoned performer who has played audience to the likes of Prince Philip, Simon Cowell and the Beckhams — was in his black tie best, bringing Sinatra back with his spot-on impression of the Italian-American singer. 'Come Fly With Me' and 'The Way You Look Tonight' were popular among the more mature crowd, who appreciated the good old days where you enjoyed live music right before your eyes instead of through a mobile screen.
Direct from the bar, Dean Martin returned to the stage by way of Mark Adams, who charmed the crowd with 'Ol' Man River'. Cue the catchphrases used by your fathers and many great men before them, such as "A drink never hurt anybody", coupled with banter with Sinatra and some memorable laugh lines: "He's been married 20 years - that's not the sad part!" and "toast our wives and sweethearts, may they never meet!" The classic 'That's Amore' transported us for a second to the cobblestone streets of Rome, looking for love in both pizza and an Italian heartbreaker.
George Daniel Long leapt onto stage as Sammy Davis Jr., the child actor who eventually grew up to star in Ocean's 11 alongside Sinatra and Martin. Daniel Long himself comes with his own acting chops, having starred in Sister Act - The Musical and The Mummy Returns.
Finally, the other Sinatra, Nancy, took to the stage with waves of blonde ambition and thigh-high boots. 'Bang Bang', 'Sugar Town', 'These Boots Are Made for Walking' and 'Somethin' Stupid' (a duet with her on-stage father) were her more memorable hits. After that much needed break from the trio of testosterones, the leads returned, this time with a mobile bar cart in tow. The Definitive Rat Pack was a welcome addition to Singapore's entertainment scene — if only for two nights — to shake things up and remind us that good music will never go out of style.
The Definitive Rat Pack took place on 26 and 27 June. Find out more about The British Theatre Playhouse.