“Packing them in” Michael Darvell meets Gary Williams, one of the company of ‘The Rat Pack’

The astonishing worldwide success of The Rat Pack is really about the music. The fact that there are three gentlemen on stage at the Strand Theatre, recreating the performance styles of Sinatra, Dean Martin And Sammy Davis Jr also has something to do with it, but it’s the material – songs such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’, ‘Come Fly With Me’, ‘Volare’, ‘My Way’, ‘Once In a Lifetime’ – that audiences love to hear. Of course, much pleasure is also derived from the actual performances of the artists who amazingly recreate the singing stars who were part of the ‘Rat Pack’. Gary Williams is a young singer who, on and off, has been appearing in the Rat Pack at the Strand Theatre, taking over the role of Sinatra when Stephen Triffitt or Chris Mann have been in the Canadian production of the show. He is currently playing the part in Munich, but will no doubt be returning to London. Gary had just released a new CD when I met him. It’s called Alone Together and has some of the best songs ever written: ‘More Than You Know’, ‘Where or When’, ‘I Remember You’, ‘Just One of Those Things’, ‘Time After Time’ etc. he hopes to go on making albums like this as long as there is an audience to buy them. Judging by the reception at the Strand Theatre, Gary has a captive audience on tap. Next year he has a new touring show called Music to Watch Girls By, based on the songs of Andy Williams, Bobby Darin, Eddie Fisher and Matt Monroe – his kind of music.

“I love this style of entertainment and there are a lot of people out there who love it too. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but there is a resurgence of interest in this kind of music because it is great music. I like coming in to this show when they need me and that’s perfect for me because I like the variety of the work. I think its good fun, healthy entertainment. There’s a new audience of older and younger people coming to see it. Last night there were loads of young people in – it was like a sea of young people out there, which was great. There are a lot of people would come to see Frank, Dean and Sammy but who wouldn’t necessarily go to see, say, Les Misérables.

What’s also great about this show is the big band which people just love to see. As well as getting people back into the theatre, The Rat Pack has got people seeing this sort of music live. They might not go and hear something like the Syd Lawrence Band because they consider themselves Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra fans rather than big band fans, but they come here and really enjoy that big band sound.” London What's On

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