In every age "the good old days" were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.
-- Brooks Atkinson (late drama critic for The New York Times, "Once Around the Sun," 1951)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The Rat Pack: Live At The Sands (The SOB Review) - State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
** (out of ****)
Need an example that "the good old days" were not always what they were cracked up to be? Well, The Rat Pack: Live At The Sands import from the U.K. currently touring the United States makes for an excellent case study.
Not content to let them rest in peace, the revue-style show from director/choreographer Mitch Sebastian "teams up" Frank Sinatra with Rat Pack alums Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin one more time, I suppose, for posterity's sake.
On the positive side (and it's not just an incidental positive, either) is Sinatra doppelgänger Stephen Triffitt who not only sounds just like Ol' Blue Eyes, but looks so much like him that you believe you're actually watching the Real McCoy. David Hayes evokes Davis fairly well both in song and dance. And although Nigel Casey looks and sounds little like Dino, he sure has enough charm and charisma to win the crowd over. All three provide terrific voices to their characters' array of top hits and standards.
But when it comes to the bantering among the three, we're stuck in a real time warp -- especially in the joke department. While Ku Klux Klan jokes were never, ever funny, unless the jokes were on the KKK themselves, we're fed more than one aimed squarely at the Davis character.
On top of that, misguided humor seriously backfires when the objects of derision are Jews, alcoholics and gays, to name a few. Was this really the shtick that our parents found so hilarious? Apparently so, given the standing O this show received from the decidedly older, but hardly mature audience.
As much as I enjoyed the timeless music and great impersonations, this was one offensive trip down memory lane that served as a reminder that the good old days weren't necessarily so.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for tickets.