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Thursday, March 14, 2019


(Richard Shelton. Pic by Val Adamson)

 Fans of Sinatra, don't miss this! (Review by Caroline Smart)


A seven-piece band awaits. The stage is set with a stylish white grand piano and a pedestal with cocktails including a bottle of Jack Daniels. A familiar figure walks in through the audience singing Luck Be A Lady. A sudden angle of the spotlight, a slight turn of his head and you have Frank Sinatra in person standing right there in front of you on the Rockwood Theatre stage.

This is Richard Shelton who is appearing in his show Sinatra And Me at Sibaya this week. He has been described as "one of the world’s finest Sinatra interpreters", and deservedly so. The resemblance is often uncanny and the voice and accent perfectly copied. He has Sinatra’s “floating” right hand off to perfection as well as his ironic comments. He is even wearing one of Sinatra’s elegant tuxedos which fits him to a T.

Shelton is an award-winning British actor and singer and his show comes directly from the West End and Los Angeles. He has an impressive track record, having appeared at major events and on countless international TV and radio shows. He received a Best Actor in a Leading Role award for his performance as Frank Sinatra in Rat Pack Confidential.

With images of Frank Sinatra played onto the backdrop, Shelton performs the show as Sinatra most of the time but occasionally breaks off to reveal his own identity and explain how the famous star came to be such a strong influence on his life. Those who are not familiar with Sinatra’s life, his career and his association with the famed Rat Pack of the Las Vegas casino scene will find the narrative fascinating and informative. His charm and genial manner endears him to the audience who respond with delight to his interaction.

The band is headed by Johannesburg-based Clifford Cooper. The other musicians are all from Durban: Nick Pitman (lead guitar); Trevor Donjeany (bass guitar); Bruce Baker (drums); Johan van der Molen (sax); Cathy Peacock (trumpet) and Christof Spies (trombone).

The line-up includes all the major Sinatra favourites such as Fly Me to the Moon, It Was a Very Good Year, One For My Baby, That’s Life, My Foolish Heart, I Get A Kick, and Lady is a Tramp.

I was impressed and moved by Moonlight in Vermont, the contemplative One For My Baby and the unaccompanied My Foolish Heart which Sinatra sang one evening from a balcony to his one-time wife, Ava Gardner.

I delighted in the energy, power and pizazz behind numbers like Witchcraft, New York New York, Chicago, Mack the Knife and my own favourite of the show, My Way.

There appeared to be a sound technical problem during the first half of the production with an imbalance between Shelton and the brass section, often making it sound as if they were in competition with each other. This made it difficult for Shelton to give numbers such as I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Come Fly Me With Me or The Summer Wind the gentler moods the songs require. However, after interval, the imbalance seemed to have been sorted and there were no more problems. 

Fans of Sinatra, don't miss this!

Sinatra and Me runs at the Rockwood Theatre until Sunday (March 17, 2019) with shows Tuesday to Saturday at 20h00 (the Sunday show is sold out). Ticket prices R200 booked through or

The show then moves on to The Mandela at Joburg Theatre in Gauteng. – Caroline Smart