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EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW • by Olivia McLaren

Sinatra: Raw

Not just a Sinatra show, this is an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of a colossus of 20th century culture
Published on August 12, 2021
www.edfringe.com

Sinatra: Raw Richard Shelton doesn't 'do' Sinatra, he IS Sinatra

Frankie went to Hollywood, or so we are told, over a bottle of Jack Daniels and a crisp bowtie, and proved his mettle twice over. Through the highs and the lows, Ol’ Blue Eyes never lost faith in his power to defy expectations and rise above the penury of the common man. At times cavalier, bitter, wistful, and proud, but always charming and stylish with the voice of an angel, Richard Shelton’s portrayal of an icon on the fade is extraordinary.

At the outset, I was prepared to cringe, wondering whether this show would be something akin to a Vegas impersonation of Elvis Presley. That was not at all what this was. This was Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I or Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. Someone who isn’t offering a cheap reproduction but instead an imaginative and original contribution to our understanding of heroes and their humanity.

And OH, that voice. In an alternate universe, it would be Frank Sinatra doing Shelton: Raw. Not a note off pitch, that baritone and those soulful tunes would make your granny weep (or, if so inclined, throw her undies on stage). The language was a little colorful, which most likely reflected how Sinatra really spoke on an evening out with Sammy, Dean, and Joey. Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall for that? Pass me the bourbon, please.

I recommend that any of you who want to hear the voice of the last century live grab a fifth of your favorite fire water and line up for tickets to this show.

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