Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Noel Sullivan, Michael Praed, and Gary Wilmot star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Picture: Julie Bull
Noel Sullivan, Michael Praed, and Gary Wilmot star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Picture: Julie Bull
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WELCOME to Beaumont-Sur-Mer and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the Broadway show based on the 1988 Michael Caine movie based on the 1964 David Niven movie Bedtime Story.

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The Playhouse

Here, Lawrence Jameson (Michael Praed), a suave, sophisticated and self-absorbed con man, prances the French Riviera ripping off wealthy women whilst pretending to be a Prince.

Unfortunately for him, small-time crook Freddy Benson (Noel Sullivan) - who has a habit of scrounging money from women with sob stories about his ill granny - appears on the scene.

Threatened by his new competition, Jameson takes the raw, younger Benson under his wing. That is, until flush beauty queen Christine Colgate (Carley Stenson) arrives and a wager is made; whoever makes off with the dame’s cash sees the other leave the area for good.

And therein lies the basis for what is effectively an old-school, music hall type show. Or, to put it another way, simple, straight-forward escapism that’s always watchable and high on laughs.

The costumes and sets are lavish, there’s an unlikely soppy romance involving Gary Wilmot’s corrupt Chief of Police and an English tourist, and a rootin’ tootin’ hoedown courtesy of cowgirl Jolene Oakes (Phoebe Coupe).

There’s a touch of the Ratpack, too, thanks to the chemistry shared by Praed and Sullivan and Colgate is no dumb broad. You don’t need eagle eyes to spot what’s coming next, nevertheless, there’s very little to fault here.

The catchy songs never outstay their welcome (dialogue takes precedence), the pace has a steady rhythm and the performances are, like Jameson and Benson’s sticky fingers, on the money.

Scoundrels they may be, but a dirty, rotten show it most certainly isn’t.

Until Saturday