Theatre Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - New Wimbledon Theatre (UK Tour) ✭✭✭✭

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Musical

New Wimbledon Theatre

Review by Emma Curry

Based on the film of the same name, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Musical returns to London on the back of a UK tour, and boasting a new cast of familiar faces.

Michael Praed stars as Lawrence Jameson, a suave British conman who has been making his way around the south of France (in league with the chief of police Andre (Gary Wilmot)), encouraging wealthy women to part with their money. His path crosses with Freddy Benson (Noel Sullivan), a young American fraudster who is hoping to improve his skills. Both men compete to see who can persuade new girl Christine Colgate (Carley Stenson), American ‘soap queen’, to part with $50,000 fastest. But perhaps the naïve Christine isn’t all that she seems…

Whilst at times the set couldn’t keep up with the fast-paced nature of the production (there were a few occasions when the scenery got stuck on its rollers), this is a show that is slick, fizzy, and fast-talking, boasting big, old-fashioned, starry numbers, and a host of excellent performances. Praed is perfectly at home in the role of Lawrence, capturing the conman’s seductive wit and vanity so that he easily draws the audience into his world.

Special mention must also go to Noel Sullivan: you might recognize Noel from his former days as one of the members of pop group Hear’Say, but he more than proves his leading man status here. He is a revelation in the part of Freddy, instantly winning over the audience with his warmth and good humour, and building an excellent comic rapport with Praed. The scene in which his mentor attempts to provoke a reaction whilst Freddy is pretending to be paralyzed is a particular comic highlight, thanks largely to Sullivan’s hilarious facial expressions. In the performance I saw he received the biggest cheer of the night at the curtain call.

The supporting cast are also fantastic: Phoebe Coupe is hilariously vulgar as Jolene, the heiress from Oklahoma, and one of Lawrence’s first victims, who performs a spectacular country-and-western-inspired paean to her homeland. Geraldine Fitzgerald is also dryly witty as Muriel, a Surrey matron who strikes up a sweetly awkward romance with Andre.

Overall, this is a light and bubbly evening’s entertainment, with plenty of memorable songs and spectacular dance routines, all set within the warmly-lit, envy-inducing surroundings of the French Riviera. The cast are clearly having enormous fun throughout the show, and the good humour is infectious. Occasionally dirty-minded but far from rotten, this show makes the ideal sunny escape from a wet autumnal evening.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Listings info

New Theatre
Tue 20 Oct – Sat 24 Oct 2015
Box Office: 0844 871 7646

New Victoria Theatre
Tue 27 Oct – Sat 31 Oct 2015
Box Office: 0844 871 7645

Cliffs Pavilion
Tue 10 Nov - Sat 14 Nov 2015
Box Office: 01702 35 11 35

Tue 24 Nov – Sat 28 Nov 2015
Box Office: 023 8071 1811