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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

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1/3
© Johan Persson

Robert Lindsay and cast

2/3
© Johan Persson

Rufus Hound and cast

3/3
© Johan Persson

Rufus Hound (Fredd), Katherine Kingsley (Christine), Robert Lindsay (Lawrence)

Savoy Theatre, Strand Until Saturday March 7 2015
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The cast now includes Alex Gaumond as Freddy Benson, Gary Wilmot as Andre Thibault and Bonnie Langford as Muriel Eubanks. Robert Lindsay and Katherine Kingsley remain with the cast

Rufus Hound plays rookie conman Freddy Benson and Robert Lindsay plays hammy old rogue Robert Lindsay in light-hearted musical caper ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, the UK premiere of the Broadway hit adapted from the 1988 comedy film.

Okay, Lindsay notionally plays Lawrence Jameson, a jaded master criminal living it up on the French Riviera. But it’s hard to know where character ends and actor begins in a fourth wall breakin’, soft shoe shufflin’, eyebrow cockin’ performance that runs the emotional gamut from suaveness to smugness. Never mind fleecing wealthy heiresses – the man should be banged up for attempted theft of scenes. I liked him a lot.

I also liked the yappy Hound as the puppyish criminal who Lawrence takes under his immaculate predator’s pinion. I liked the daffy Katherine Kingsley as their apparently airheaded American ‘mark’ Christine Colgate. And I liked Samantha Bond, bringing a certain eccentric charm to the thin role of Muriel Eubanks, a wealthy do-gooder who falls for Lawrence but happily takes being fobbed off on his dopey French sidekick, Andrew (John Marquez, likeable). If it wasn’t so sweet natured one might accuse ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ of being a tad misogynist – it’s basically about two men who get off on robbing women – but the whole thing is permeated by a wide-eyed innocence.

It’s delightful, then, but I wish there was a bit more to director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell’s production.

‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is a homage to the golden age of the musical, a semi-ironic doff of the top hat to the days where men were men, women were dames, everybody danced and chorus lines would turn up with no explanation needed. But I’m not sure its UK premiere has the budget to pull it off: with basic sets, a small ensemble and the modest Savoy stage, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is not a lavish show, and feels outgunned by fancier West End parodies like ‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘I Can’t Sing!’.  

The producers have bet the farm on classy leads, and Lindsay – with slick moves, big acting chops and warm Sinatra croon – presents a viable triple threat, while brassy Kingsley packs some real vocal firepower. But for all their charms. Hound, Bond and Marquez feel out of place, a trio of quirky Brits slightly adrift in a slick Broadway export. It’s charming, you’ll laugh, and there are a fistful of very decent songs. But it lacked the Yankee brazenness to truly win my confidence.

Venue name: Savoy Theatre
Contact:
Address: The Strand
London
WC2R 0ET
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross; Rail: Charing Cross

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

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LiveReviews|6
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Alexander

As a big fan of the film, I was extremely excited to see the theatre adaptation. And I certainly wasn't let down, the entire cast were superb, a special mention of course for Robert Lindsay, sadly Rufus Hound wasn't starring in the performance I watched, however his understudy performed incredibly. 5 stars 

Walter K

I have seen both movies, the one with Michael Caine & Steve Martin and the older one with David Niven & Marlom Brando, but they pale in comparison with this show. It was pure joy: a funny, sexy and sometimes crude performance, but oh so much fun.

Especially Robert Linsay in the lead-role as Lwarence Jameson is just great, a dirty rotten scoundrel through and through - and you just have to like him.

Lida Rose

I can't believe none of the reviews have mentioned Lizzy Connolly's performance as the Oklahoma oil heiress. She only has one song, but steals the show. The sets were good for a smaller venue. I have preferred songs from other West End shows, but the performances, story and over all style make for an enjoyable night out.

Adam

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Robert Lyndsay is fantastic a proper showman . His comic timing and singing are amazing. Rufus Hound character is very funny and the on stage chemistry is perfection. Please go and see this show, you will come away with a massive smile on your face.

Liis

A proper good mood show and an absolute must! The cast was brilliant and the winks and charm of Robert Lindsay are guaranteed to haunt you for a while.