The Pack - A Timeless Set of Swing Hits at Chapel Off Chapel
Sat 02 Jun 2018
Chapel Off Chapel's bar was awash with people admiring the artwork hung around the walls and enjoying pre-show bubbles. Entering 'The Loft', the venue's intimate stage space, I felt like I was walking into an underground New York Jazz Bar. The instruments set up on the stage waited patiently for their musicians, in the blue haze of light. Smoke swirled out in circles across the small theatre space, inviting the audience to be part of the fantasy and step back in time to the age of swing.
Inspired by the original Rat Pack, these three very talented friends have put together a professional, polished tribute concert to the legends of the 1950s; Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin and friends. Jordan Mahar, James Terry and Lachie Graham are seasoned performers, with roles in musicals such as Oklahoma
and 42nd Street
already part of their repertoire.
Jordan and Lachie are graduates of the VCA and James is known for being involved in the production of lots of musical theatre all around Melbourne. Their experience and training is evident during every number. The show was fabulous. The trio were able to flow easily through the range of songs and produced a polished act. Their dance moves were exceptional and each of them had a strong stage presence.
'Feeling Good' was the highlight of the show. The woman next to me in the audience was tapping both feet so hard I thought she'd get up and sing along. Other crowd favourites were 'Under My Skin' and 'I Gotta Be Me'. Bobby Darin's 'Mack the Knife' was great and taught me something I didn't know - the song is actually about a serial killer. This surprise tidbit of information had me replaying the song on Spotify on the way home, analysing the lyrics again and again. I especially liked when they did Judy Garland, and then sang the same song again, faster.
The banter in between songs was light and funny and, essentially, these guys mirror the original rat pack in that their friendship and regard for each other's talent is obvious and endearing.
The only criticism of the whole show would be the addition of the Michael Buble song. I understand the decision to include more modern day crooners but it didn't quite work for me. Considering the truth and clarity of the other numbers, I found it a bit unnecessary. It was a delight to see Jordan playing his guitar, so I was able to forgive the transgression.
Special mention should go to Stacey - Louise Camilleri, the musical director of the group and a wonderful pianist. Watching her hands move with precision up and down the keys was captivating and reminded me of Damien Chazelle's 2014 film, Whiplash
. I had a very real appreciation of the sheer amount of hard work that goes into being a jazz musician.
Henry (housemate of one of the cast) let it slip that the trio had never played with the band before. Anthony Foon, Patrick Devine and Tom Doublier were accomplished, skilful musicians. The interactions were smooth and the band didn't miss a beat.
The applause of the crowd was sincere and generous. I hope these guys have the opportunity to give this show a good run somewhere. It was a pleasure to be entertained by them.
!date 02/06/2018 -- 02/06/2018
190430 - 2023-06-16 03:26:33