What’s it all about?
You know the old Michael Caine/Steve Martin film? No? Oh…
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a tale of conmen on the sun-soaked French Riviera, one an experience grifter rolling in cash, the other an upstart who’s vulgar and brash. To settle their differences they wager on their ability to swindle an heiress. This, of course, gives ample opportunity for the pair to find themselves in a scrape or two.
Who’s in it?
This is the production that’s brought double Olivier Award winner Robert Lindsay back to the musical stage. Like James Bond’s more relaxed older brother, he brings suaveness, arrogance, an air of the ridiculous and a gentle believability to arch conman Lawrence Jameson.
Stand-up turned actor Rufus Hound, now in his second West End leading role, finds the younger brother competitive spirit in uncouth pretender Freddy Benson… and a singing voice that might surprise a few theatregoers.
Together they have a winning chemistry that would make The Muppets’ Bunsen jealous.
Katherine Kingsley adds to their double act with a performance as soap queen Christine Colgate which is pretty near comic perfection, while Samantha Bond and John Marquez provide the beautifully sweet love story subplot that acts as an antidote to all the double, triple and quadruple crossing.
What should I look out for?
Kingsley’s name on next year’s Olivier Awards nominees list, an outstanding West End debut from Lizzy Connolly as an unhinged, gun-totin’ Oklahoma heiress, and everything else as well. Seriously, every musical number is a winner, from the gloriously played up power ballad Love Is My Legs to the stunning ensembles extravaganzas. There’s genuinely not a dud anywhere to be seen. Director Jerry Mitchell has achieved the remarkable feat of making every moment a highlight.
What will I be humming?
Lindsay’s classy opening number Give Them What They Want, which uses more head adornments than a Village People convention, and Hound’s ode to materialism Great Big Stuff… but you’ll probably be thinking about the gasp-inducingly low brow (in a good way) All About Ruprecht or the wincingly good, sadist-satisfying Rüffhousin’ Mit Shüffhausen. I’ve rarely enjoyed someone else’s pain so much.
Who was in the press night crowd?
This was a textbook West End first night audience: Sir Bruce behind me, Biggins in front, Graham Norton to my left, West End Producer to my right.
In a nutshell?
Like Lindsay’s conman, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels never stops giving them what they want. Every number is a showstopper.
What’s being said on Twitter?
@SamBaileyREAL Dirty rotten scoundrels at the savoy theatre xx a MUST see xx it’s absolute genius and hilariously funny
@marcusbrig Well ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ was a brilliant night at the theatre. Obviously @RufusHound was best… But it was all very funny & good.
Will I like it?
Oh, you want more than that? If a production that seems to bring together the glamour and lyrical wit of Cole Porter with the raucous, irreverent comedy of Mel Brooks, delivered by an endearing, impressive cast under the guidance of a musical theatre master appeals, this is for you.
So, as I said, yes.