Songs of the Rat Pack Era
By Andrea Taylor
The Arts Club of the Don Polski building has been transformed into a swanky supper club for the Cabaret Fringe Festival. Beautifully painted decorations in the manner of Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge posters adorn the walls, and an art nouveau design surrounds the stage which has a gold curtain backdrop heightening the old nightclub feel. The atmosphere was certainly set for an evening of tunes made famous by Frank, Sammy and Dean plus a few extra.
The name of the show was Songs of the Rat Pack Era and it more or less describes the entire content of the night’s entertainment. I had heard of the Bill Parton Trio before but this was the first time I’d seen them perform. It is obvious that they’ve been playing together for a long time – ten years according to Parton – and that they know and love the songs they were playing. Some of my favourite songs of all time were played and while, at times, I felt the solos were a little drawn out and/or too numerous I definitely enjoyed their spin on these beloved tunes. They stay true to the spirit of the lounge music of the late ’50s and early ’60s whilst giving it their own flavour, with Bill Parton’s fairly unique vocal style being largely to thank, though it is the combined talents of the trio that truly make their style enjoyable.
I feel I may have enjoyed the show more thoroughly without some of Bill Parton’s chatting in between songs such as a couple of degrading remarks concerning women who had been at a past show (the phrase ‘slappers’ was used). Maybe this wouldn’t sour the evening for everyone but I find rude remarks like that to be unnecessary. However, it was only a small point in an otherwise enjoyable evening with great music in a gorgeous venue.