Review: Christmas With The Rat Pack at the Ipswich Regent was a swinging festive hit

Christmas With The Rat Pack, Ipswich Regent

Christmas With The Rat Pack, Ipswich Regent - Credit: Archant

A large crowd at The Ipswich Regent was taken on a scintillating trip back in time to the glamorous nights of Las Vegas in the late 1950s and early 60s on Friday night.

Christmas with the Rat Pack was brimming with glitzy performances, big band music and witty banter between three of the world’s most popular entertainers: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

The show was designed to be a mirror reflection of a Sinatra, Dean and Davis Jr performance at the famous Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. The trio were a fearless and inexhaustible force to be reckoned with, and the show on Friday night paid homage in the perfect way by recreating one of the most glamorous periods in entertainment history with unerring accuracy and a sparkle that never faded.

The rapport between the impersonators, as well as their mannerisms and professionalism, plus the overall staging arrangement (such as having the orchestra set up high under a light blue spotlight) prevented any sense of reality creeping in to the theatre to destroy the illusion.

Sinatra was the first to stride on to the stage. “How did all these people get in my room?”, he quipped.

His jacket was crisp, his hair was neatly gelled and his notes were mostly pitch-perfect.

After a few songs he was substituted and replaced by Martin, who arguably possessed the best voice. His version of That’s Amore was particularly impressive.

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Soon after, Davis Jr blessed the stage, showcasing some smart moves, energy and a willingness to engage with the audience.

Throughout the rest of the night, the trio engaged in numerous collaborations, sprinkled with some more solo performances. Other hit songs included New York, New York and Fly Me To The Moon, but My Way was curiously absent.

However, while the show was overall very pleasant and enjoyable in a laid back and light-hearted fashion, some parts suffered because the singers have honed their craft so close to perfection. In other words, some sections, mostly attempts at physical comedy skits which involved smart wordplay and interchanges, were compromised because they felt over-rehearsed. It would be interesting to watch the same act again on a different night at a different location to see if they are simply meticulously following a script. If this is the case, I would have liked to have seen some ad-libbing and creativity on the stage.

That said, there were often loud and generous reactions to the comedy sideshows, as well as full-bodied appreciation to all of the songs, and on reflection, it was a terrifically enjoyable evening to bring in the festive season.