‘Sinatra: The Man and his Music’ show review

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Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, death is no longer the bar to filling the London Palladium that it once was.

Equipped with a technical presentation barely dreamt of when he died in the late 1990s, Sinatra can still own the stage backed by a twenty-five piece orchestra and fourteen dancers.

The show is billed as a “multi-media concert” with Frank appearing courtesy of archive footage and recordings. It does take a while to adapt to this experience; principally he dominates via a screen resembling a giant monolithic iPhone which floats down smoothly to the middle of the stage, at other times he is projected on to a translucent curtain through which you can see the musicians and dancers.

Additionally, there are rotating screens beneath the orchestra who perch on a gantry above the main stage, which is accessed by a pair of moveable staircases that the dancers make ample use of.

The show takes you through his life, with the verses of ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ providing a chronological spine. Interview excerpts fill in the details with Frank telling his own story in characteristically self-deprecating style. Video footage and the presentation of stills illustrate the story and cover stage rearrangements.

While the main focus is the music, from early days with Tommy Dorsey though Columbia to Las Vegas, a small section deals with his career in movies – notably his Oscar winning turn in From Here to Eternity and there is footage of his acceptance speech.

Mostly it works, although there were a few occasions when it was Frank and the musicians on stage, but the screen bearing his image frustratingly blocked our view of them. In truth, the dancers worked best when given the whole of the stage and they presented a couple of fantastic routines while Frank was off, so to speak.

Given his tremendous back catalogue, there are plenty of songs to choose from but necessarily the big hitters were present. A rousing rendition of ‘New York, New York’ presented with a high kicking, Vegas style dance routine and, of course, the show culminates with a triumphant rendition of ‘My Way’ – how could it not!


Performed on Wednesday 7 October 2015 at the London Palladium.

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