Peacock Theatre, London
May 3, 2018
Inspired by the kings of swing, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr, The Tap Pack bring huge fun and tapping frolics to The Peacock in a show full of adrenaline-charged energy.
Created by Jesse Rasmussen, Jordan Pollard and Thomas J. Egan, this is a slick, high-energy show that’s full of wit. Other than being centred around a cocktail bar, there’s no particular deep concept, and definitely no plot. What it does have is lots of showmanship from the five Australians (Rasmussen, Egan, Sean Mulligan, Max Patterson and Ben Brown), who clearly just love what they do. Their repertoire is huge. Not only are they great tappers but singers too as they turn their hands (and feet!) to songs from Sinatra to Ed Sheeran, and all the classics in between. The Tap Pack is cocktail of pure entertainment, classics with a twist, all served up with a live four-piece band.
The friendship between the performers is evident in the mischief they get up to. They easily slip into the spontaneous and I’ll wager that every show is a little bit different. The five complement each other hugely. They are certainly old school cool, smooth and suave in their approach. The impress without ever seeming to try too hard.
There’s plenty of theatricality, though, each dancer getting the chance to show off their own particular skills. Standing out was a ‘Me and My Shadow’ duet, relaxed and easy to watch. But all the time, the tap was full of intricate rhythms and transitions, sometimes set to the band’s work and at other times creating its own rhythm. This lends itself well to other elements of the show, such as the rhythmic cocktail flaring which took place at seemingly every opportune moment, and the improvisation or jamming from Egan which drew whistles and cheers from the audience.
When the tapping stopped, however, the focus returned to the men behind the microphones. In an apt culmination of the evening, Rasmussen talked, and tapped, about the tap dancers who had influenced him throughout his youth and consequent career, going on to impersonate Sammy Davis Jnr, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. These iconic performers have been the driving force behind many performers’ work, and their influence makes the The Tap Pack all the more special.