Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (review). Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound in stylish comedy caper

Hold onto your diamonds ladies because Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Lawrence and Freddy are set to turn on the charm in a slick and stylish comedy crime caper coming to The Waterside from next Wednesday.

By Anne Cox
Tuesday, 18th February 2014, 2:22 pm
Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Photo by Phil Tragen
Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Photo by Phil Tragen

The jolly romp opened in Manchester last night and Anne Cox, our regional theatre critic for WOW247, was there to get a preview before the big budget musical arrives in Aylesbury.

Robert Lindsay is sublime as the silver-tongued and suave and conman Lawrence Jameson.

The actor, who is returning to stage musicals after more than 15 years, is a class act and effortlessly slips into the role of a louche seducer and shyster.

Robert Lindsay, Katherine Kingsley and Rufus Hound starring in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

As Lawrence he affects a posh voice (at one point doing a spot-on impersonation of Prince Charles) to butter up the rich broads who holiday on the French Riviera.

But he’s getting jaded -until his interest is piqued when a new player, who he suspects is a notorious thief called The Jackel, arrives in town.

Down-at-heel American grifter Freddy Benson rolls out a sob story and a hangdog expression to fleece his victims and he begs the debonair master for a few pointers.

The irrepressible Freddy (Rufus Hound) helps Lawrence out of a fix. In return he wants a slice of the action.

But is the Croisette big enough for the both of them?

The men have a $50,000 winner-takes-all bet on who can land rich society heiress Christine Colgate.

The talented Katherine Kingsley (Singin’ In The Rain) plays the not-so-dumb blonde bimbo who finds herself torn between the two men.

Bubbling along nicely is a second story about a burgeoning love affair between former Jameson victim, Surrey divorcee Muriel (the beautiful, wonderfully dressed and under-used Samantha Bond) and corrupt police chief Andre (Doc Martin’s John Marquez).

This glittering Broadwayproduction is loosely based on the 1988 Hollywood movie of the same name that starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin.

It was transformed into a musical by Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek and has now been tweaked for British audiences.

The revival is a truly glamorous affair, boasting the sort of extravagance rarely seen in modern productions.

The Balmy South of France has been marvellously recreated with a stunning Peter McKintosh Art-Deco set and the costumes are drop-dead-gorgeous.

It’s delightfully witty with the quips slickly dispatched by the ensemble. The second half takes up where the first act finished before the break.

“Didn’t we do this scene already?” Complains Bond.

The knockabout comedy is left in the capable hands of Hound, fast becoming the go-to guy for physical humour.

Scoundrels opens Wednesday, Feb 26, and runs until March 1.

For tickets call the box office 0844 871 7627 or visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury