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Opera Review: I Puritani - Welsh National Opera at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Steve Stubbs on Monday, 5 October 2015 | 23:02

   I PURITANI            
Vincenzo Bellini
Rosa Feola and Barry Banks

Welsh National Opera at the WMC 

Review by Sebastian Petit

4th October 2015: What a frustrating work Bellini’s “I Puritani” is! Musically it flows with invention and some of the finest, yearning, ineffably sad music that Bellini wrote putting it on a level with “Norma” and “I Capuleti”. But, alas, it is saddled with an absolute dog of a libretto which forces a ludicrous about-turn happy ending at the last minute with a Royal Messenger, seemingly borrowed from John Gay’s “The Beggar’s Opera”, effecting a scaffold reprieve in the nick of time. Mysteriously he knows exactly where to find the hero despite the fact that it has taken the remainder of the Roundheads three months to lay hands on him!

Despite this problem laying almost insuperable problems at the door of any director hoping for even a modicum of verisimilitude the opera is far more regularly revived than some of Bellini’s other masterworks because the music is so fine. While the parts are certainly fiendishly demanding they do not present the near insoluble problem of the superhuman diva required to fill the central role in “Norma” (or that of the unsympathetic tenor lead, for that matter).

Rosa Feola
Any director taking on the work has to decide whether to opt for picture book traditionalism or to try to achieve a cogent dramatic framework on which to hang Pepoli’s shaky structure. Fortunately Annelise Miskimmon opted for the latter. I should, in the interests of balance, note that several of the older members of the audience close to me were far less enthusiastic than me. Clearly the Aspic Opera Preservation Society is still flourishing. Miskimmon re-imagined the work as split between the reality of a grim Northern Irish Orangemen hall and the fractured fantasy of the heroine imagining a romantic Civil War liaison between Roundhead daughter and dashing Cavalier. As this fantasy takes over the walls of Leslie Travers’ ingenious set splinter and close in. In act 2 we are wholly in the twilight world of Elvira’s fantasy gone wrong and the small hall has become monstrous and stained black. In Act 3 we return to the realism of the original setting before her world is irrevocably broken on the wheel of sectarian violence. Miskimmon alters the unconvincing happy end to a full blown tragedy as Arturo is murdered and Elvira is left alone, madly singing of her happiness at his return. A liberty? Yes, but one which I found wholly convincing and left me emotionally shattered. I suspect Bellini who wanted people to “die with singing” might actually have approved.

As any Bel Canto opera, Puritani stands or falls on its principals especially the prima donna. WNO have been fortunate enough to engage the hugely promising Rosa Feola as Elvira and she is pretty much perfect. She has the technique, range and fluidity and she is an utterly compelling actress. She is slightly reminiscent of Dessay onstage and has a similar complete engagement with the role. There was also a moment near the beginning of Act 2 when, singing offstage, she sounded so like Sutherland as to be positively uncanny. But she is absolutely her own artist and I cannot wait to hear her in other bel canto roles soon.

Barry Banks is a known quantity in this sort of role but that is not in any way to diminish his achievement as Arturo. He commanded the stage whether in glorious, silver Cavalier silks or considerably less glamorous 70’s flares. His voice rises easily and sweetly to all the (many) high notes that Bellini wrote for Rubini. For the record he did not, on this occasion, attempt the ludicrous top F in Act 3. I have never heard any tenor (even Pavarotti) make anything beautiful of it so I missed it not at all.

David Kempster
David Kempster is far more comfortable in Verdi than bel canto but, once past his opening aria, he made much of the hazily written Riccardo. As always his acting was wholly convincing as he vacillated between the light and dark paths offered to him. His trumpet duet with the excellent, smooth voiced Giorgio of Wojtek Gierlach was a stirring highlight. Incidentally, did we really need a full interval between act 2 and 3? Obviously the set had to change but stopping for a full 20 minutes was surely unnecessary and sacrificed much of the tension build up over the preceding act.

The chorus and orchestra were in splendid form under that prince of bel canto, Carlo Rizzi. Indeed one might well ask why he so infrequently seen at Covent Garden when they continue to engage a certain incompetent time beater (who is due to cast his dead hand over the new production of Lucia at that address) every season. 

Meanwhile I would urge all lovers of fine singing to rush to see this production. (Unfortunately I believe Barry Banks has been forced to take a leave of absence for an operation. So far WNO have not announced a replacement). Feola’s exceptional Elvira is worth the price of admission alone.

5 stars ✭✭✭✭✭

Fore more info and UK Tour dates please visit

PAUL HEATON & JACQUI ABBOTT announce 2016 UK Tour - New album Wisdom, Laughter and Lines out 23rd Oct 2015

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott

New album – Wisdom, Laughter and Lines
Released 23rd October 2015
More Live dates announced on sale Friday 9th October

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott have announced their biggest headline UK tour to date including two nights at Hull City Hall, plus shows at Leeds First Direct ArenaManchester O2 Apollo, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall before culminating at London’s famous Royal Albert Hall.
‘Wisdom, Laughter and Lines’ is the new album from Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott. This record is the second from Paul & Jacqui following the critically acclaimed ‘What Have We Become’, which saw them return together on record for the first time since the multi-million selling days of The Beautiful South, who in the 1990s and early 2000s released a string of critically-acclaimed records.

‘Wisdom, Laughter and Lines’ is a wonderful contemporary record, full of lyrical wit and humour, whilst retaining a strong social conscience that touches on the changing social landscape of Britain, the first single from the album is ‘The Austerity of Love’ which was ‘Record of the Week’ on BBC Radio 2 and has been added straight on to the A Playlist at BBC Radio 2. 

Paul & Jacqui have announced a huge UK tour for March 2016. 
Tickets will go on general sale on Friday 9th October 10am.

2016 live dates:
Thursday 10 March - Birmingham O2 Academy
Friday 11 March - Hull City Hall
Saturday 12 March - Hull City Hall
Monday 14 March - Glasgow O2 Academy
Tuesday 15 March - Aberdeen Music Hall
Thursday 17 March - Stoke Victoria Hall
Friday 18 March - Newcastle City Hall
Saturday 19 March - Leeds First Direct Arena
Monday 21 March - Cardiff St David’s Hall
Tuesday 22 March - Bristol Colston Hall
Thursday 24 March -  Manchester O2 Apollo
Friday 25 March - Llandudno Venue Cymru Arena
Saturday 26 March - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Sunday 27 March - Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Tuesday 29 March - Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Wednesday 30 March - London Royal Albert Hall

Tickets from;
 TICKETMASTER.CO.UK 0844 826 2826

Album Tracklisting:
1.     (Man Is) The Biggest Bitch Of All
2.      The Austerity Of Love
3.      I Don't See Them
4.      Heatongrad
5.      Sundial In The Shade
6.      Lonesome And Sad Millionaire
7.      The Queen Of Soho
8.      The Horse And Groom
9.      When Love For Woman Stops
10.    No One Wants To Stay
11.    Wives 1, 2 & 3
12.    You, The Mountain And Me
13.    State Vs Jeeves
14.    Real Love
15.    Fair Share Of Breathing         
16.    Capital Love 

Opera Review: Orlando - Welsh National Opera at Wales Millennium Centre ✭✭✭✭✭

Written By Steve Stubbs on Sunday, 4 October 2015 | 20:34

George Frideric Handel


Review by Sebastian Petit  

4th October 2015: Handel’s “Orlando” is less frequently performed than his core works but is considered by many to be one of his greatest masterpieces. The title role is one of the finest examples of the parts written for Senesino. In the wrong hands, however, Orlando can be a turgid evening of drama - the recent Covent Garden production is just one example where I found myself praying for a swift conclusion. On paper Harry Fehr’s conceit of setting the opera in a hospital for shell shocked servicemen did not sound promising and the reviews from when the production was new at Scottish Opera were not positive. However, for whatever reasons, the production, once transposed to Cardiff struck me as one of the most convincing rethinking of a Handel opera that I have experienced. Every aspect from the simple, elegant designs, excellent lighting and the superbly detailed character direction worked. Much of this must be ascribed to the creative team’s complete trust of the materiel. I have rarely come across a Handel staging which felt so completely unconstrained by the potential straightjacket of the opera seria structure. The wholly naturalistic and convincing acting from all the principals was a tribute to both them and the detailed direction of every scene. Only some clumsy semaphoring from a few of the supernumeraries detracted from the overall success of the evening.

All of this would count for nought if WNO had not brought the highest musical standards to the table as well. Fortunately, they engaged the early music specialist Rinaldo Alessandrini who brilliantly conducted a reduced WNO ensemble and elicited a pit sound that was exciting, transparent and wholly free from the sort of po-faced authenticity that can blight performances of Handel.

In addition, it would be hard to imagine a better cast fielded anywhere today. Leading the field was Lawrence Zazzo’s astonishing Orlando. Although already familiar with Zazzo from broadcast and recording this was the first time I have experienced him live. He must be optimum casting for this and the other Senesino roles at the moment. Not only is the voice supremely flexible and evenly produced with a complete lack of the dreaded countertenor “hoot” but he has an extraordinary upper range that is both exciting and beautiful. Added to this he is a first rate actor who really uses the music to motivate as opposed to layering his performance on top. Visually he perfectly accords with Fehr’s vision of the pin-up pilot with his tousled blond hair and square-jawed Dan Dare looks. A marvellous performance.

Zazzo was lucky to be paired with two first-rate sopranos. Rebecca Evans Angelica at first came over a shallow and self-centred but, as the evening progressed, her character attained depth and tragic intensity. Her big scenas in Act 2 and 3 were marvels of sustained singing and concentrated emotion.

The lighter role of Dorinda was portrayed by the marvellous Fflur Wyn. It has been a good year for Wyn: she was an excellent Jemmy in “Guillaume Tell” last year and followed it with highly praised performances of Alice and Lakmé at OHP this summer. Her performance as Dorinda was even stronger combining pearly vocalism with a hugely appealing portrayal of the unlucky-in-love nurse. Someone needs to engage Wyn for Susanna or Zerlina without delay.

Robin Blaze was spot on casting as Medoro with both voice and manner providing an apt contrast to Zazzo. I thoroughly enjoyed his slightly shifty, easily led characterisation of the man who is always placed in the reactive position.

Inevitably reducing the magician Zoroastro to a slightly unscrupulous doctor weakened an already hazy character. Daniel Grice, who had more than a little of Downton Abbey’s Doctor Clarkson about him, did what he could but occasionally struggled with the unusually wide vocal range.

These few cavils apart, this was a really strong evening and eloquently made the case for this wonderful opera.

Five stars  ✭✭✭✭✭

For more info and tour dates please visit

Theatre Review: American Idiot - Arts Theatre, London ✭✭✭

American Idiot

Arts Theatre, London
Review by Emma Curry

From the rubbish-strewn, graffiti-marked stage, the punky, holey costumes, and the thumping opening riff of ‘American Idiot’, it’s clear that this show isn’t going to be your usual kind of musical. Based around Green Day’s 2004 concept album, the Arts Theatre’s new production is an almost entirely sung-through show which draws upon lyricist Billie Joe Armstrong’s vision of a claustrophobic, stymied, TV-dominated cultural landscape in which choices are limited and dreams are short-circuited. The story focuses upon three childhood friends, who each hope to leave their hometown and pursue their musical dreams in the big city. Will (Steve Rushton) chooses to remain at home with his pregnant girlfriend, Tunny (Alexis Gerred) is drawn into the army by a hilariously glitzy recruitment video, and frontman Johnny (Aaron Sidwell) falls into a downward spiral of drink and drug addiction.

Whilst the story matter is at times rather bleak, the energy and imagination of the staging make this show visually spectacular: there are some incredibly creative and striking uses of the space, including a joyful rendition of ‘Holiday’ on a bus, with guitar cases doubling as the front wheels and shopping trolleys as the seats, and a spectacular hospital dream sequence for ‘Extraordinary Girl’, in which Raquel Jones comforts wounded-in-action Tunny through the amputation of his leg in an amazing fairy-light-rigged angel/butterfly costume, which looks like something Grace Jones would be very happy to count within her wardrobe.

The ensemble work seamlessly together throughout, and it was clear from the enthusiastic closing rendition of ‘Time of Your Life’ that they’re having an absolute ball performing this show each night. Special mention should go to Aaron Sidwell, who spends almost the entire show on stage and thoroughly engages the audience through each stage of Johnny’s slow, agonising downward spiral. Lucas Rush is charismatic and compelling as St. Jimmy, Johnny’s wickedly destructive alter ego. The show also boasts a familiar face in X Factor alumnus Amelia Lily, although, aside from one powerful solo number, it’s a shame that she doesn’t get given more to do here.

Whilst the songs are expertly performed throughout, I did feel that the production needed more dialogue in its quieter moments in order to draw out the themes it was reflecting upon. Without this, the show has a rather disjointed feel to it, with slightly jerky links from one song to another and little chance for the characters (especially the female characters) to really develop. At times it’s a little unclear exactly where the story is headed, and a slightly expanded book would really help to open up the ramifications of Armstrong’s lyrics.

Nevertheless, fans of Green Day will enjoy seeing these songs being brought to life so expertly and enthusiastically on the stage. In its youthful, riotous shout of rebellion, the show also offers a refreshingly hopeful message at its close. If you’re looking for an alternative take on the musical form, this is one to watch.

Three stars ✭✭✭

Listings Info

Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
020 7836 8463


Tuesday - Saturday 8.00pm

Satruday - 2.30pm

Sunday 3.00pm and 6.00pm

Running Time - 90 minutes (no interval)


£15, £20, £32.50, £45, £55, £65


Call the Box Office to book on 020 7836 8643

Groups 20+ - £25

Groups 10+ - £32.50

Groups 6+ - £35

Valis on best available seats from Tuesday - Friday and Sunday


Leicester Square Underground

Charing Cross Underground and National Rail

Parking in China town and Trafalgar Square


To discuss access requirments and rates please call the Box Office

Timeless classic Rebecca opens in Glasgow in November

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 2 October 2015 | 21:00

REBECCA is timeless; the book beloved by generations and the iconic Alfred Hitchcock Oscar winning film a classic. Now REBECCA arrives on the stage! Emma Rice, the award winning director, has created a spellbinding new production of Daphne du Maurier’s masterpiece which conjures Cornish romance and theatrical magic. REBECCA comes to the King’s Theatre Glasgow from Monday 2 until Saturday 7 November 2015.

Following the mysterious death of his first wife, Maxim de Winter returns to Manderley with his new young bride. Surrounded by memories of the glamorous Rebecca, the new Mrs De Winter is consumed by jealousy. She sets out to uncover the secrets of the house and a past fiercely guarded by the sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers. All is not what it seems in Manderley...

The cast is led Tristan Sturrock as Maxim de Winter, Emily Raymond as Mrs Danvers with Richard Clews, Katy Owen, Ewan Wardrop, Andy Williams, Lizzie Winkler and introducing Imogen Sage as Mrs de Winter.

King’s Theatre Glasgow
Mon 2 – Sat 7 Nov
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge (bkg fee)

Theatre Review: The Bodyguard - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Ellen Cree

If comedy, romance, suspense and tragedy along with the iconic music of Whitney Houston is what you look for in a theatre production, then The Bodyguard is the musical for you. It's a dangerously exciting show that will leave you wanting more.

The Bodyguard follows the story of the six time Grammy Award winner Rachel Marron (Alexandra Burke) who is under threat when a dress is stolen from her dressing room and a mysterious letter is left in it’s place by a crazy stalker. Her entourage proceed to hire the best bodyguard in the business, Frank Farmer (Stuart Reid) to protect Rachel along with her young son Fletcher (T’jai Adu-Yeboah) and her sister, Nicki (Melissa James). As the show progresses, the stalker’s activity becomes more terrifying and threatening, leaving the audience petrified of the consequences. Unless you have a heart of stone, you will be left in tears as the ultimate misfortune takes place.

Alexandra Burke, who won The X Factor in 2008, brings the iconic role of Rachel Marron to life with her extraordinary voice. I cannot give Burke enough praise as I have been a fan of hers for a number of years now. Stuart Reid also did a fantastic job in his role, and had the whole audience in fits of laughter during his rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You.’ Melissa James brought a sweetness to her role as well as her also incredible voice, and T’jai Adu-Yeboah was absolutely adorable.

Mensah Bediako as Bill Devaney, Adam Venus as Sy Spector, Siôn Lloyd as Tony Scibelli and Glen Fox as Ray Court also deserve a lot of praise for perfectly bringing their warm, protective, lovable characters to life, and may I add that their comic timing is great! Along with this, we of course cannot forget Mike Denman’s chilling portrayal of The Stalker. His appearances take the audience by surprise and provide a chilling undercurrent throughout the show.

With the exception of the beautifully wild performance costumes Rachel Marron and her performers wear, and the stunning gowns worn during the production, the costumes are simplistic and fitting for the more toned down scenes. I also found myself awfully impressed with the set and the way scene changes were carried out. The special effects as a whole were brilliant!

I honestly can’t say enough good things about this production, and never in all the dozens and dozens of times I've visited The Playhouse, have a seen a full standing ovation like I saw at The Bodyguard. The audience all remained on their feet for the bows and for a sing/dance along finale to one of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’

The Bodyguard is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 10th October. For tickets and information visit

Agatha Christie favourite And Then There Were None comes to Glasgow this October

Written By Lisa Davidson on Thursday, 1 October 2015 | 21:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of THE AGATHA CHRISTIE THEATRE COMPANY and the 125th anniversary of the author’s birth, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE returns to the stage. This production of the Queen of Crime’s most popular and best-selling thriller has been wowing audiences across the UK since January and comes to the Theatre Royal Glasgow from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 October 2015.

Sixties pop star-turned actor MARK WYNTER stars as Dr. Armstrong and is joined by Bergerac and Peak Practice’s DEBORAH GRANT as eccentric spinster Emily Brent. KEZIA BURROWS, best known as junior doctor Cath Llewellyn in the 2009 BBC drama series Crash, joins the cast as secretary Vera Claythorne.

They join Just Good Friends star PAUL NICHOLAS as judge Sir Lawrence Wargrave, COLIN BUCHANAN, who starred as Peter Pascoe inDalziel and Pascoe, as retired police inspector William Henry Blore, former Blue Peter presenter and actor MARK CURRY as Rogers,Soldier Soldier’s BEN NEALON as Philip Lombard and Bouquet of Barbed Wire’s ERIC CARTE as General Mackenzie.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is the world’s best-selling mystery ever, with 100 million sales to date. Widely considered to be Christie’s masterpiece, her own stage adaptation of this dark and captivating tale will thrill and enthral, as murder unfolds…

A group of 10 strangers is lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon. Upon arrival it is discovered that their host, an eccentric millionaire, is missing. At dinner a recorded message is played accusing each of them in turn of having a guilty secret and by the end of the evening the 10 guests become nine. Stranded on the island by a torrential storm and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme, one by one the guests begin to die. And with only the fallen believed to be innocent who amongst them is the killer?

And Then There Were None
Theatre Royal Glasgow
Mon 19 – Sat 24 Oct 2015
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7647 (bkg fee) Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge (bkg fee)

Hit show One Man Breaking Bad arrives in Glasgow this November

Written By Lisa Davidson on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 | 21:00

Following sell-out runs at comedy festivals in Melbourne and Edinburgh, and following his first UK tour this spring, LA actor Miles Allen will tour the UK again this autumn with his hit solo show ONE MAN BREAKING BAD – THE UNAUTHORISED PARODY coming to the Theatre Royal Glasgow on Sunday 1 November, 7.30pm.

LA actor Miles Allen smacks the senses with his super-charged, hilariously accurate renditions of all the iconic characters, including Walter White, Jesse, Saul, Skyler, Hank, Walt Junior, Mike and Gus Fring.

Allen’s incredible impersonations break all five seasons down into one, exhilarating, and uproarious tour-de-force parody performance.

Miles Allen said, “This show is a love letter for all the fans who lived through the blood, meth, and tears of the greatest television show ever made.”

Glasgow Performances
One Man Breaking Bad – The Unauthorised Parody
Sun 1 Nov, 7.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7648 (bkg fee) Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge (bkg fee)


Tue 27 Oct            Salford, The Lowry
Wed 28 Oct          Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall
Thu 29 Oct            Reading, The Hexagon
Fri 30 Oct              Corby, The Core at Corby Cube
Sat 31 Oct              Bradford, St. George’s Hall
Sun 1 Nov              Glasgow, Theatre Royal
Tue 3 Nov              Sheffield, Crucible
Fri 6 Nov                Brighton, Brighton Dome
Sat 7 Nov               Newbury, Corn Exchange
Sun 8 Nov              Basingstoke, The Anvil
Tue 10 Nov            Kings Lynn, Corn Exchange
Wed 11 Nov          Colchester, Mercury Theatre
Thu 12 Nov            Norwich, Norwich Theatre
Fri 13 Nov              Aylesbury , Waterside Theatre
Sat 14 Nov             Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Rooms
Sun 15 Nov            Cambridge, Corn Exchange
Tue 17 Nov            Dartford, The Orchard Theatre
Wed 18 Nov          Crawley, The Hawth
Thu 19 Nov            Bath, Komedia
Fri 20 Nov              Canterbury, The Marlowe Theatre
Sat 21 Nov             Portsmouth, King’s Theatre
Sun 22 Nov            Richmond, Richmond Theatre
Tue 24 Nov            Swansea, Grand Theatre
Wed 25 Nov          Stafford, Gatehouse Theatre
Thu 26 Nov            Buxton, Opera House
Sat 28 Nov             Belfast, Ulster Hall

Lucy O'Byrne sends the hills alive with The Sound of Music

Written By Lisa Davidson on Monday, 28 September 2015 | 20:30

Fresh from her success on BBC One’s The Voice, LUCY O’BYRNE joins the company of Bill Kenwright’s spectacular five-star production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC as Maria von Trapp when the show comes to Edinburgh from Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th January 2016.

Lucy, who hails from Dublin, became a household name earlier this year when she shot to success as a finalist in the live shows of the TV talent show. With chart-topper as her mentor, and biggest fan, Lucy made history as the first classical singer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning vocal range. Now, having recently performed at the BBC Proms, she makes her debut as the young postulant at The Broadway, Peterborough this December.

Produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer, musical direction by David Steadman, this wonderfully lavish staging of the classic musical coincides with the 50th anniversary of the film version - the most successful movie musical in history.

It all began with the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, which inspired Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to create a Broadway musical in 1959. The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII.

The unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including ‘Edelweiss’, ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘So Long, Farewell’ and of course, the title song, ‘The Sound of Music’

For tickets and information visit

Theatre Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Edinburgh Playhouse ✭✭✭✭

Written By Lisa Davidson on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 | 23:59

Review by Ellen Cree

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will leave you smiling and feeling as though you've had a crazy stay in Beaumont-sur-Mer. 

With an impressive principal cast and very strong ensemble, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will exceed any expectations. The show transports you to the glamorous French Rivera to watch the hilarious antics of Lawrence Jameson (Michael Praed) and Freddy Benson (Noel Sullivan) unfold.

The story follows posh Englishman conman, Lawrence (Praed) who returns to the resort for the season to trick more wealthy holiday makers out of their valuables, however his accomplice Andre Thibault (Gary Wilmot) finds out that another con artist ‘The Jackal’ is muscling in on their area, who they believe is American trickster Freddy (Noel Sullivan). The two soon become rivals through a bet they make to con apparently sweet American girl Christine Colgate (Carley Stenson), who is the heiress of a soap company but all is soon not as it seems. 

Praed and Sullivan have perfect on stage chemistry making a hilarious and lovable duo, and the beautiful Stenson provides the show with a certain sweetness before all is revealed. Along with this, Wilmot, Geraldine Fitzgerald (Muriel Banks) and Phoebe Coupe (Jolene Oakes) brilliantly provide extra humour with great comedic timing. The ensemble also provide a very slick performance with impressive dancing sure to leave the audience envious. 

Although there aren’t necessarily any memorable or catchy musical numbers that stick in your head after the performance, the cast make it memorable with their musical talent, especially Carley Stenson and Noel Sullivan who have outstanding voices. 

Along with stunning performances comes equally stunning costumes whether it is a dazzling ballgown or an outfit fit for a hoedown, the quality and variety of the costumes is brilliant. The set, mostly providing visuals for the hotel, casino and Lawrence’s luxury villa, is simplistic but fitting for the tone of the show.

Overall, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels a perfectly ludicrous and whimsical musical which also contains a fair amount of subtle adult humour. If the talented cast and guaranteed laughter performing genuinely charming characters doesn't make you want to attend, then I don’t know what will. If you're looking for a fun filled evening tied up with a bundle of laughs, make sure you see it and expect the unexpected!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 19th September. For tickets and information visit

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