Going Underground

Posted by Dick Playfair on Aug 16, 2013

There’s skill in staging a production that appears under-rehearsed when in reality it’s just so darn tight. That’s what you get with Vegas Underground – a precious hour of full-on entertainment with songs, banter, repartee, the odd guest, and the odd glitch (“where’s the guest, where’s the mic?”) that pass so smoothly that these artistes are either very practiced or they can just ride the wave. They’re clearly enjoying it as much as we are …

The tousled, charming, slightly lived-in Peter Grant as MC sings, chats and wants his audience to be special (we are, after all, the celebs hanging out in their late night dive while they transport us into the small hours).

The band, under the directorship of highly acclaimed Danny McCormack (Van Morrison, Diana Ross, Imelda May, Tony Christie, Roy Wood on his cv), is right on the baton every time.

The mix includes some standards, and some home-penned rat-pack inspired numbers. Co-host Rebecca Poole, stunning full stop, slowed proceedings down nicely with Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang, and then it was time for guest ‘chantooze’ Lady Rizo, her entry delayed either by a zip malfunction, a 19 year old, or possibly neither. There was an interesting lyric about quills and ink (or lack of it), and her ballad of the cyber-stalker “I Google You”. Yup, Lady R can make one feel just a trifle uncomfortable – but not too much.

Danny McCormack rips it up with an out-of-control Caravan; Peter Grant impresses with a Ray Charles/Harry Connick Jnr inspired solo spot, and the show rounds off with a frenetic Route 66.

I reckon this could be a different show every night – a great excuse to see it twice. A shame that the venue adds little and the audience was thin (mid-week, late, rain, fringe-fatigue setting in), and for a show that requires some public interaction (claps, finger-clicks, vocals even) that’s tough on stage when there’s little bouncing back.

Great music, real talent, inspired concept – a bit Alan Carr meets Peter Cincotti (OK, maybe not the Alan Carr bit), and in Fringe terms probably a bigger production (hence the ticket price, but don’t let that put you off). I think this show would really benefit from a much more intimate venue like Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar. Then I think the fabulous Rebecca, Peter, Danny et al would hit their audience with both barrels and get back what they need from the floor to make it really fly. Bang Bang!

Highly recommended – so go see!

Vegas Underground at The George Square Theatre, Edinburgh until 26 August 2013