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Rat Pack crooners swing this way to relive trio's Las Vegas golden years

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 26, 2013

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Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin were the hippest, coolest cats around during the Fifties and Sixties and their Las Vegas showbar appearances were a unique phenomenon.

Rat Pack Live, coming to the Princess Theatre, Torquay next weekend, takes the audience back in time to the razzle dazzle of a night at the legendary Sands Club.

The epitome of style, the trio were inseparable friends as well as being superb entertainers with exceptional voices.

Filming Ocean's Eleven by day, the guys would play two shows at the Sands by night, crooning, quipping and boozing their way through performances that were all about having a good time.

Tickets were like gold dust and stars would travel from all over to be there – it wasn't unusual to see Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe and President John F Kennedy in the audience.

Although the three men received critical acclaim relatively late in their careers, when they did they stormed the world and stayed resolutely at the top. The Olivier Awards' nominated show highlights the incredible talent of the three icons with performances of evergreen songs.

It portrays them at this crucial point when the desert city was abuzz with anticipation whenever the Rat Pack played, and the lavish production has played to capacity crowds throughout the UK.

Underlining just what impact the Rat Pack have had on the world of music, the production has a set list of an incredible 45 worldwide hits to choose from. Featured hits include New York, New York; That's Amore; My Way; Mr Bojangles; That's Life; Ain't That a Kick in the Head; I've Got You Under My Skin; Mambo Italiano; Little Old Wine Drinker Me.

Boasting stars from the West End, Rat Pack Live combines the sound of big band swing with a terrific cast.

Mark Halliday, has performed as Dean Martin to critical acclaim both in London and in international touring productions.

He also spent two years in the States creating the role of Hades in Disney's new musical Hercules and has lead appearances in runaway touring hit shows Girls Night Out and Aspects of Love under his belt.

"Mark carries off Dino's stage presence to a tee," says show producer Michael Taylor.

"Spirit glass in one hand, microphone in the other, he captures Martin's polished irreverence on beautifully-performed songs like Ain't That a Kick in the Head, Mambo Italiano and That's Amore."

The evening's Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior exude similar stage presence, according to Michael. Richard Shelton gained rave revues as Ol' Blue Eyes in West End hit Rat Pack Confidential. Former Manchester City international footballer Jim Whitley as Davis has toured the UK extensively as both Sammy and Nat King Cole, and has previously performed alongside Judy Carmichael at New York's famous Rainbow Rooms.

"Together the talented trio combine 'swingsationally' in Rat Pack Live," says Michael.

"Prepare to experience the definition of cool," concludes Michael.

Rat Pack Live is at the Princess Theatre, Torquay on Saturday, August 3.

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