REVIEW: THE TAP PACK (Peacock Theatre) ★★★★

Inspired by the legendary “Rat Pack” which included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr, The Tap Pack is a high energy tap comedy show. Dressed in sharp suits, bursting with wit and charm, Australia’s most handsome male Tap show brings it’s entertaining mix of swing music, witty banter and tap dancing to The Peacock Theatre for a limited London season.

With 20 musical theatre productions between them, the cast are all well equipped to sing, dance and joke their way through the two hour strong Tap Pack production. Lead by Creative Director Jesse Rasmussen the cast consists of Thomas J Egan, Sean Mulligan, Max Patterson and Ben Brown backed by an outstanding four piece onstage band lead by Musical Director Micky Bister. With a range of songs from classic standards Lady Is A Tramp, Come Fly With Me and Me and My Shadow to swing twists of songs such as Wonderwall and Thinking Out Loud the cast take the audience on a journey of Tap dance. From soft shoe to Fred Astaire.

During the first act the cast display their considerable talent crooning and tapping away as a group, introducing themselves and giving small solos. Highlights of Act One are an extremely well executed soft shoe danced by Max Patterson and a fun filled western romp where the cast were able to tell a story and create an emotive response from the audience using only their feet. While Act One was a rollicking good time, I feel the second act is where the cast and show really come into it’s own. Creative Director Jesse Rasmussen opened the act with a wonderful homage to his favourite tappers of the past. The result was a lovely medley of choreography in the style of Sammy Davis Jr, Singing In The Rain and Fred Astaire; complete with white cane and honorary Ginger Rogers, fellow cast member Thomas J Egan, who tapped danced backwards in white kitten heels. Next it was time for some audience participation in which a cajón was slapped and the audience mimicked these rhythms, responding with claps. An innovative way of creatively involving the audience and making them feel part of the performance. Another highlight of Act Two was Thomas J Egan’s very impressive improvisation routines. Displaying his incredible talent, Egan received three very enthusiastic ovations and many gasps during his set which was extremely well deserved. Rounding off the act we were treated to the beautiful One For My Baby (And One More For The Road), one of my favourite songs and a must for any Rat Pack tribute.

From the opening number it was evident the cast of The Tap Pack were extremely well versed in dance and enjoyed being onstage performing with each other. What I felt didn’t work as well was the interlinking dialogue. It would have been nice for the audience to get to know each cast member throughout the show. The choreography certainly spoke for each individuals strengths, but the interlinking dialogue seemed over rehearsed and contrived resulting in a missed opportunity to elevate the show further than the cruise ship performance that was presented.

Featuring a range of music from Swing to Ed Sheeran favourites, the cast tap up a storm and do an excellent job with the audience eating out of their hands from the opening number. Bringing an invigorating energy to a timeless dance style, The Tap Pack at The Peacock Theatre is a fun night out, sure to entertain, titillate and have you tapping along in the isles!

Reviewed by Stuart James

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