Previewed 10 March 2014, Opened 2 April 2014, Closed 7 March 2015 at the Savoy Theatre in London
A major new production of David Yazbek's musical comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in London starring Robert Lindsay and directed by Jerry Mitchell.
Set on the French Riviera, the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are two con men: There is the suave and sophisticated Lawrence Jameson who funds his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money. But then Freddy Benson, a small-time crook who cons women with made up stories about his grandmother's failing health, arrives on the Riviera and upsets the status quo. Realising that the Riviera isn't big enough for the both of them, the two con men compete for a bet to swindle a millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate. Do they have any idea what they’ve let themselves in for?
Based on the 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, this musical comedy was originally staged on Broadway in 2005 when it enjoyed a run of 18 months - now the show is being re-worked, reconceived and re-imagined for its eagerly awaited West End premiere.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in London stars Robert Lindsay as 'Lawrence Jameson', Gavin Alex as 'Freddy Benson' (up to 8 November 2014), Alex Gaumond as 'Freddy Benson' (from 11 November 2014), Katherine Kingsley 'Christine Colgate', Bonnie Langford as 'Muriel Eubanks' and Gary Wilmot as 'Andre Thibault'. Please note that casting is subject to change. The original London West End cast included Rufus Hound as 'Freddy Benson', Samantha Bond as 'Muriel Eubanks' and John Marquez as 'Andre Thibault'. This production is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell with set and costume designs by Peter McKintosh. Gary Wilmot's West End credits include Neil Simon's comedy musical The Goodbye Girl at the Noel Coward Theatre in 1997 and Barry Manilow's musical Copacabana at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1994.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian hailed it as being "a prime, and highly pleasurable, example of the musical as escapist fantasy and source of fun," adding that "it's not a show that extends the boundaries of the form, but one that simply, and happily, takes us back to the all-but-lost era of musical comedy." In the Independent John Nathan described it as a "slick production" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express agreed saying it was "a slick, funny and beautifully staged entertainment... there is a shameless vulgarity to director Jerry Mitchell's physical comedy which occasionally borders on the crude and the undemanding dance numbers allow the principals to look good while the real work is done by the ensemble." Dominic Maxwell in the Times commented on the "big backing ensemble who dance and sing brilliantly under the palm trees of Peter McKintosh's lavish set" while Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail thought that this "musical farce complete with spangly sets, slapstick and a chorus line of pearly lovelies" was performed "with drilled, insistent professionalism." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard wrote that in "Jerry Mitchell’s lavish production... there’s plenty of razzle-dazzle yet also a wry knowingness," concluding that "it’s Katherine Kingsley who best embodies this escapist show’s blend of sunny entertainment and classy delivery." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph praised "this highly enjoyable musical... it’s a highly entertaining and slickly staged show, and those who purchase tickets won’t feel they have been fleeced – even at West End prices." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times held that "Jeffrey Lane’s book is much sillier than either film version, and David Yazbek’s songs are sillier even than that – and neither contribution is silly in a good way... this is like a Muppet rendition of the comparatively mature, subtle film version."
"For a very pleasant change, director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell’s sunny, funny, slick production upstages the original, capturing its flavour but adding extra zing, fizz and swing... Teaming up again with songwriter David Yazbek, with whom he worked on the cracking Full Monty musical, the result has a similar old-fashioned, boisterous, brassy, bawdy buoyancy, in which not taking anything seriously is taken very seriously indeed – very much the tone of Jeffrey Lane’s playful book, which grabs every opportunity to tip the wink at the audience, up the knowing self-parody, and tease with sly references to the musical greats such as Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady... All that’s missing is a climactic showstopper and a take-home tune to treasure." The Mail on Sunday
"As it turns out, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a scandalous delight. It's richly original in style, too, though the story is much the same: two conmen working the Riviera in the halcyon days of the 1950s, with a particular fondness for duping, seducing and ripping off naive young American heiresses or wealthy divorcees. Heartless, yes, but damnably charming... All the cast deserve high praise, as do the ensemble, an energetic and balletic troupe of buff young men and foxy girls in a variety of saucy costumes, offering all the traditional voyeuristic pleasures of the West End show... Peter McKintosh's design offers a dream of the Riviera as it never was, but ought to have been, all blue seas and sunny skies, creamy stone and art deco, chrome and champagne. But the highest praise is due to the creative team behind it all: Jeffrey Lane for the book, David Yazbek for music and lyrics, and the director and choreographer, Jerry Mitchell. It's a fantastically slick and glamorous production, and Yazbek's songs and tunes are some of the catchiest, most hilarious and elegantly crafted around." The Sunday Times
"I would not expect any of David Yazbek’s big numbers to be regarded as classic showstoppers, but they are performed with such robust confidence, even elan, that it’s hard not to be won over by them. The big dance routines are exuberantly handled by Mitchell and his associate choreographer Darren Carnall... The production’s trump card is, however, its cast. In the Michael Caine role of Lawrence, Robert Lindsay notches up what is without question his greatest ever stage success... He achieves, too, a delightful chemistry with Rufus Hound as the younger conman who moves in on his turf and tries to outwit him at his own game. It is, however, the women these two old rogues prey upon – played by performers who know all about stagecraft and have big, powerful voices – that make this production really special. So, take a bow, Katherine Kingsley, Samantha Bond and Lizzy Connolly... Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has stonking great hit written all over it." The Sunday Telegraph
Robert Lindsay's recent West End stage credits include the role of 'King Henry II' in Trevor Nunn's production of James Goldman's play The Lion in Winter (Haymarket Theatre 2011), the title role of 'Aristotle Onassis' in Nancy Meckler's production of Martin Sherman's play Onassis (Novello Theatre 2010) and the title role of 'Archie Rice' in Sean Holmes' revival of John Osborne's play The Entertainer (Old Vic Theatre 2007). Rufus Hound is an actor, presenter and comedian. His London stage credits include the central role of 'Francis Henshall' in Nicholas Hytner's production of Richard Bean's comedy One Man, Two Guvnors (Haymarket Theatre 2013). Katherine Kingsley's West End credits include Michael Grandage's revival of William Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream (Noel Coward Theatre 2013), Jonathan Church's stage revival of the MGM musical Singin' In The Rain (Palace Theatre 2012), Jamie Lloyd's revival of Pam Gems' play with songs Piaf (Vaudeville Theatre 2008) and Ian Talbot's revival of Cole Porter's musical High Society (Shaftesbury Theatre 2005). Jerry Mitchell's London credits include directing Legally Blonde the Musical (Savoy Theatre 2010) and the choreography for Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre 2010) and Hairspray the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre 2007).
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in London at the Savoy Theatre previewed from 10 March 2014, opened on 2 April 2014 and closed on 7 March 2015.