I was in the happy position of knowing nothing about this show whatsoever, having never seen the film, and therefore went with an open mind and no preconceptions of what to expect. I still managed to be pleasantly surprised, however, as what awaited me was not what I might have expected had I thought about it. The marketing of the show portrays the gilded, glitzy glamour of the French Riviera, where the show is set, and its associated sophistication and glamour, but does not betray the comedy and calamity of the story that lies within. ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is wonderfully random and quite hilarious in places. It is a story of an unlikely companionship that builds between two very opposite men, one of whom teaches the other to live a life of swindling, and the lady who comes into their lives to introduce just the right amount of havoc.
The show is led by renowned actor Robert Lindsay, in the role of Lawrence Jameson. Lindsay is sublimely laid-back, debonair, and his subtle, jovial interactions with the audience, breaking the fourth wall, are quickly accepted and enjoyed, despite being out of the usual style of musical theatre. He provides a masterclass in acting through song throughout the show, as his naturalism – although being less theatrical than the style of musical theatre we are accustomed to – allows us to fully connect with the character, and although we might disapprove of his dastardly ways, we certainly grow fond of him and care about him when his luck runs out, in life and in love.
The other two leading roles of Freddy Benson and Christine Colgate were played by understudies, Gavin Alex and Alice Fearne respectively, and I can’t imagine the roles being played better. Gavin Alex was hilarious in the comedy sidekick role; clever and clumsy, awkward and loveable all at the same time. As we see him develop into a rogue, we somehow want him to succeed as much as Jameson. Gavin is certainly one to watch as an up-and-coming leading man, with a fabulous voice I can see suiting many a lead role in the future. As Christine Colgate, stunning Alice Fearne sang the part outstandingly well, a real showstopper of a voice, and again is perfectly equipped to carry any leading role. I loved every aspect of her performance.
An unexpected treat was the performance of Bonnie Langford as Muriel Eubanks. As a long-time-lover of her work, I was delighted to see her arrive on stage. As ever, she was a dream in this role. Looking stunning and dressed impossibly well, Langford brought humour, sass, sophistication and dazzling vocals. She is as charming and delightful as ever and I was thrilled to see her perform.
A mention must go to newcomer Lizzie Connolly, in the role of Jolene. Fresh out of college, she provides some real comedy gold in this outrageously OTT character role, with a tremendous voice, the stage presence of a long-experienced professional, and all the youthful exuberance of a new graduate. A glittering career awaits this girl for sure.
A strong ensemble fill this glitzy set with glamour and panache, and it all sits absolutely perfectly in the sophistication of the Savoy – a more perfect theatre for this production I can’t imagine. The set seems to continue seamlessly into the auditorium somehow, met with the gilded walls of this opulent venue, it has been placed magnificently.
I found the score of the show to be very catchy, with some memorable numbers, and a style which reflected the French Riviera perfectly.
All in all this was a really enjoyable night out. I thoroughly recommend this production for an evening of laughter, fun and quite frankly, utter randomness! A very refreshing addition to the West End.
Review by Nikki Laurence
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels The Musical
Big-time con-man Lawrence Jameson’s livelihood is threatened by the arrival of small-time con-man Freddie Benson in the swanky French coastal town of Beaumont sur Mer. After a spot of ‘getting to know you’, the duo join forces and set about their shared practice of fleecing wealthy society ladies by spinning them hard-luck tales.
Lawrence is by far the more experienced, and Freddy forces him to share his knowledge so that he can get a bigger bite of the cherry. When the time eventually comes to bid adieu, Freddy decides to stay a bit longer in Beaumont sur Mer, but it quickly becomes apparent that this town ain’t big enough for the both of them.
Strand, London, WC2R 0ET
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 3.00pm
Age Restrictions: Suitable for ages 8+
Show Opened: 10th March 2014
Thursday 6th November 2014