Fringe Review: Full houses for Sinatra show from Fife

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Allan Crow on a Festival success stsory from the Kingdom which pays a wonderful homage to Ol’ BLue Eyes...

STAGING a show at the Edinburgh Festival is hard work - standing out among 2000 performances is the ultimate goal.

An hour before the curtain goes up on Sinatra: The Final Curtain and the previous show is still packing up.

With a queue already forming outside on a rainy night, the crew has to reconfigure the venue - the previous show is performed in the round - build its own stage and set, get sound and lights ready, and put the seats out. Backstage the preparations are just as busy.

By the time the black curtains are pulled back and the doors open, the queue has snaked round the corner - another full house is ready to be seated.

One hour 20 minutes later, the final bows have been taken, people are on their feet applauding and the cast are at the door saying good night to everyone.

And they’ve done this night after night after night.

Sinatra: The Final Curtain has had a great festival - and it is a triumph delivered from Fife.

Produced by the Kingdom Theatre Company, it was written by Press columnist John Murray, and the cast includes Alan Murrie, well known locally as the singer of The Columbos.

It has enjoyed full houses in many nights, and is well into its final week with the ‘‘house full’’ signs up.

It’s a small venue - like so many on the Fringe -but with some shows struggling to get audiences into double numbers, ‘Sinatra’ could actually fill a bigger venue.

The show has also enjoyed very positive reviews, including the much-coveted five-stars from one critic.

With just a handful of shows left, it will leave the stage on a high; a fabulous triumph for all concerned on stage and behind the scenes.

Standing ovations have been almost the norm, and word of mouth has helped to bring more people down the side street to the Whitespace Gallery just a few hundred yards from the flagship Playhouse Theatre.

As the audience takes its seats, Sinatra is already on stage, tucked up in his hospital bed, his nose buried in a book - a biography of JFK. On the floor within handy reach is a bottle of Jack Daniels.

In his dying days he is in a reflective mood as he tells his young duty nurse of his great days.

There’s a wonderful warmth to the script - the young nurse (Sarah MacGillivray) draws out the story of Ol’ BLue Eyes (Moray Innes) with humour, patience and kindness.

Told in flashback, the stage also switches to the gin joints and bars and a younger Sinatra (Alan Murrie) delivering some of his greatest numbers.

The music is fabulous - Innes rising from his sick bed to deliver ‘New York New York’ was a showstopper, while the duet with his nurse on @Something Stupid’ was a sheer joy.

It finishes with ‘My Way’ - there really is no other song to end a Sinatra show on - with the two Franks side by side. - and warm, enthusiastic applause, with many on their feet.

Another show, another night - four more to go before the final curtain falls for real.

Go see it. It’s a gem of a show.

Sinatra: The FInal Curtain.

Until Saturday at Venue 116, Whitespace Gallery, 11 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh.

** At the time of writing there were very few tickets left so please check for returns.