Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Jeffrey Lane; Music and Lyrics David Yazbek
Based on the film 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Hemming.

Director and co-Choreographer Max Reimer Co-Choreographer Nathalie Marrable Musical Director Steve Thomas Lighting Design Gerald King Sound Design Lucas Cooper Stage Manager Jan Hodgson

Dates and Venue 21 November - 27 December 2009 @ 8:00pm with matinees @ 2:00 pm | Vancouver Playhouse Theatre

Reviewer Jane Penistan

What an experience to be so deliciously conned by these artists! The dirty rotten scoundrels of the title are three very different but nevertheless engaging, charismatic characters. The legendary atmosphere of the French Riviera adds to the charm of this engaging piece of ”not- quite- real-life” musical comedy.

A suave English gentleman of uncertain age, Lawrence Jameson, and his French associate, André, live in style in Beaumont–sur –Mer. Lawrence exudes charm and enjoys seducing women of any age, but particularly wealthy American women. Surrendering to his wiles, these women accept his rich gifts, (which he manages to retrieve surreptitiously) and load him with money, which André stows away in a hidden safe. Into this comfortable existence explodes young American, Freddy Benson, and bets Lawrence he will beat him at this game. And now the real fun begins.

Among Lawrence’s conquests are Muriel, (Gabrielle Jones), who ultimately settles for an amorous Andre, delightfully played and sung with Gallic panache, by David Marr. Young and flighty nubile young women, Lenore (Katie Murphy), Jolene (Kiara Leigh), Sophia (Jaclyn Rae) and Renee (Debbie Timuss) also have a fling with the personable Lawrence, (Andrew Wheeler), until the arrival of the innocent, distraught Christine Colgate (Elena Juatco). Her hard luck story arouses the avuncular in Lawrence, but Freddy (Josh Epstein) gets into the act with élan, and from then on, it’s a game of one –up-man-ship between youth and middle age, with hilarious consequences.

The Riviera scenery and hotel are pleasantly decadent, the latter, slightly decayed. The lighting effectually manages brilliant Mediterranean sunshine and romantic evening light and everything in between. The costumes of the chorus and there are several changes of costume for the entire chorus here, are all spectacular in their colour, and variety, particularly, the elegant evening gowns which are outstanding. All the clothes, of both women and men, are well fitting and well cut, including all Freddy’s wardrobe, down to his most intimate apparel.

The choreography displays many different styles, and all are accurately and effortlessly performed. In fact, the chorus work is exceptionally good, well designed, rehearsed and performed.

Josh Epstein‘s physicality and versatility as an actor and singer are amazing in the variety of ways in which he displays his incredible talents. As always, Andrew Wheeler puts on a sophisticated and polished performance. He also is a man of talents as an actor and singer and the same must be said of David Marr. His Frenchman is funny and clever.

Not the innocent she appears to be, Christine Colgate turns out to be the biggest con of them all. She manages this with a series of unforgettable scenes. How the men are fooled.

This production has all the requisites good musical comedy. The dialogue is full of wit and fun and is well delivered, with good timing and pace. The characterization is intelligent and well thought out as is the almost impeccable chorus work, with its well rehearsed dancing and singing. The unseen, but clearly audible orchestra is brilliant.

Here is first class entertainment. Get your tickets while there are still some to get for this almost flawless production. Enjoy!

© 2009 Jane Penistan