Sinatra Raw at Crazy Coqs at Zedel
Richard Shelton plays Frank Sinatra in 1971 as he faces retirement, we are in Palm Springs, California and we are treated to a mixture of Sinatra’s musings, which become more alcohol fuelled as the evening progresses, and a small portion of his back catalogue.
Sinatra Raw is billed as a play but it is really a show that doesn’t fit categorisation. Whilst a large part of the performance is spent listening to Shelton give anecdotes we are also treated to some Sinatra songs. The anecdotes that are divulged come across naturally as if they were coming from the man himself and require no prior knowledge of Sinatra to enjoy or appreciate. The anecdotes appear to get more candid and even more angry as the show progresses and the amount of Jack Daniel’s consumed increases. It really succeeds in portraying a feeling of bitterness from Sinatra as it tackles suicide, failed relationships and abortion.
Whilst the focus of the show is essentially Sinatra in conversation the moments we are treated to his music occasionally. Shelton absolutely has the voice to do Sinatra’s music justice and it is a nice touch when he asks for requests from the audience and tries to comply with as many as he can muster. He is ably accompanied by Michael Roulston who keeps up with the requests that come flying in from the audience as well as key changes on request from Shelton.
Shelton has Sinatra down to a T, he not only sounds like him but looks like him and has embraced Sinatra’s mannerisms as well. His stage presence is undeniable, flirting with the audience and addressing many of them individually. Shelton’s ability to do this makes the Crazy Coq’s the perfect venue for the show, creating an intimate atmosphere.
Sinatra Raw is a really well considered evening of entertainment. A combination of Shelton’s storytelling ability mixed with his crooning ability means that this show succeeds on all accounts.
Sinatra Raw is running until the 20th Januarys at Crazy Coqs.