Friday, October 25, 2013

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Good Clean Fun

Last night I attended the opening of the musical comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (DRS) at Theater Royal in Sydney. The show doesn't break any new ground, being a standard Broadway musical (with some routines sounding very familiar). But you don't go to such a show for cutting edge social commentary, you go for a good time, which DRS provides. This would make a good night out for the bowls club.

Tony Sheldon as Lawrence Jameson provides a suitably sophisticated con-man, talking wealthy American women out of their fortunes on the French Riviera. Matt Hetherington (as young con-man Freddy Benson) can belt out a tune, but struggles with the acting. Anne Wood (as wealthy widow Muriel Eubanks) steals the show with her asides to the audience. Katrina Retallick and Amy Lehpamer do not appear to be able to break out of the confines of their stereotypical roles, but giving acceptable performances.

John Wood provides a familiar face, but struggles with his French accent as corrupt policemen Andre Thibault (even if it is meant to be an American interpretation of a French accent). Wood warmed up and provided a fine comedic performance later in the show, when he has more to do.

Michael Hankin's set design is a little sparse for a Broadway style musical, but makes imaginative use of the few props (such as a dance scene with the potted palms). The scene changes run smoothly, unlike some musicals which have complex machinery, more like an episode of "transformers".

David Yazbek's musical numbers are all good, but sound a little too familiar, as if every hit Musial ever made was run through a computer program and reassembled. Musical Director, Guy Simpson, gets the most out of the material with the small cast and band of musicians sounding much more numerous than they are.

Unlike many musicals, the show has a logical and intelligible plot, which helps.  But Jeffrey Lane's book is a little wordy (this is not My Fair Lady).

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