x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Vegas swings by Abu Dhabi with the Rat Pack

The cool sounds of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr come alive at Adnec.

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular. Courtesy Adnec
The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular. Courtesy Adnec

Las Vegas will come to Abu Dhabi this weekend with a tribute performance to the legendary Rat Pack.

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular stage show arrives at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) on Friday, featuring classic songs by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

As the producer Wayne Kennedy - also performing as Martin - tells it, the show had a humble and most un-American beginning: all the performers are Englishmen.

"I did my first Rat Pack solo gig in the UK to an enthusiastic audience of 11," he recalls. "The solo show got rolling, we kept winning awards and the demand grew for a much larger production."

It was in 2003, at the request of an event organiser, that the performance moved into its winning three-man format.

For the role of Ol' Blue Eyes, Kennedy recruited Roman Marek, a modern star of his own having reached the finals of the first series of The X Factor in the UK. The jazz musician James Jr, the winner of two UK Unsigned music awards, joined the crew as Sammy Davis Jr.

Kennedy stresses the performance is more than a high-budget karaoke night. The singers are in character throughout the show.

"It is not just about hitting the notes and singing in tune, it's about channelling the essence of the Rat Pack," he says. "By that, I mean really getting into character and a genuine atmosphere."

Most of the the Rat Pack's timeless hits will receive an airing, including Everybody Loves Somebody, Fly Me to the Moon and Mr Bojangles, and singers will perform both together and in solo slots.

Kennedy says that true to the spirit of the trio, some improvisation among the hits can be expected. "The Rat Pack themselves are well known for playing around with the songs on the night, not taking it too seriously," he says. "Rat Pack songs are the soundtrack to love."

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular will be at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Friday at 8.30pm. Tickets start at Dh125 from www.timeouttickets.com