Venue: The Mayflower Southampton
The sun may be the only thing shining on the French Riviera in this touring version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is based on the 1988 film of the same name, which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin.
Scoundrels, previously shown in the West End with Robert Lindsay at the helm, is written by Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek and tells the story of two con-men: Lawrence Jameson (Michael Praed) and Freddy Benson (Noel Sullivan) who, along with their right hand man Andre (Mark Benton), are trying to fleece wealthy women out of their money. In a bid to determine who is the best con man and to be able to stay in Beaumont-Sur-Mer the pair place a bet on who can get 50k out of Soap Queen, Christine Colgate (Carley Stenson), first.
There’s no denying that Praed, Sullivan and Benton provided entertainment for the masses and were having the time of their lives in what was the penultimate show for the tour; but there was something missing with this production, and I felt as out of place in the audience of elderly, as the strangely placed Minion balloon looked in this 1950’s inspired musical. This musical is definitely a product of a time of “non pc” thinking; therefore I felt it was enjoyed more by the older generation.
Slapstick comedy a-plenty… Think Producers with an extra side helping of ham! The scripting was at times offensive and I just couldn’t get on board with a scene where Freddy pretends to be disabled.
The entire cast did their best with what they were given and whilst there is no denying that Noel Sullivan of Hear’say fame and Hollyoaks’ Carley Stenson are brilliant singers, the musical has very little in the way of memorable songs. I can literally only name you one song without looking at the programme. Great Big Stuff is hopefully not stuck in my brain for all eternity, which is a shame as Sullivan can knock the socks off of a Rock Power ballad a la We Will Rock You/Rock of Ages any day of the week.
Peter McKintosh’s set is definitely a redeeming factor setting the tone and adding an extra ounce of glitz and glam to the French Riviera hotel setting.
A play not completely devoid of hope, but one that made me want to board a boat back to English shores after the first act.
The Mayflower Southampton was the last stop on the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour.