Review Roundup: DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at the Savoy Theatre

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Review Roundup: DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at the Savoy Theatre

Jerry Mitchell's production of the Broadway musical, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, opened at the Savoy Theatre 2 April 2014. It stars Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Katherine Kingsley, and Samantha Bond.

Let's see what the critics had to say:

Michael Coveney of whatsonstage writes: Jerry Mitchell's glorious staging, and David Yazbek's delightful score (with audaciously witty lyrics), continue the musical comedy comeback first signalled, I reckon, by Betty Blue Eyes; but in terms of design, song power and frilly-knickered chorus girls, this is different league, and it all looks absolutely fabulous, and fabulously old-fashioned, in the silver leaf and art deco setting of the Savoy.

Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard writes: Jerry Mitchell's lavish production occasionally seems torn between warm-hearted traditionalism and a savvy, almost postmodern delight in furtiveness and "nudge nudge, wink wink". There's plenty of razzle-dazzle yet also a wry knowingness. When romance strikes, it's saccharine to the point of absurdity - this is a show that relishes pushing the boundaries of good taste... Clever twists define Jeffrey Lane's book and especially David Yazbek's witty lyrics. But Yazbek's music is less satisfying. It rollicks along appealingly without sticking in the memory. Yet with Samantha Bond and John Marquez providing nimble support as an unlikely pair of lovers, there's a cluster of cherishable performances.

Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph writes: If it is a highly entertaining show, rather than a great one, that is largely because the songs by David Yazbek are largely a pastiche of a wide variety of styles ranging from Oklahoma hoedown to big power ballads and French chanson. The effect is witty, and the lyrics are sharp, but you don't feel you are watching the work of a man with a voice of his own.

Michael Billington of the Guardian writes: Subtle it isn't. But it took me back to the mock sadism of the music-hall double acts of my youth, such as the incomparable Jewel and Warriss. In fact, the whole show is a throwback to an earlier age: David Yazbek's beguiling score even includes a parody of Oklahoma, as well as love songs in the style of Cole Porter.... You see this perfectly in the performance of Robert Lindsay as Lawrence. Lindsay has the great capacity for looking as if he enjoys being on stage. But he also sends up his own suavity and elegance, especially in the show's opening, hat-swapping number, in which he is like a composite of the Rat Pack.

Dominic Maxwell of The Times writes: ...it's their co-star Katherine Kingsley who nicks the show from under their noses. When Kingsley is on stage... Jerry Mitchell's production comes into full focus... You see how good this smart, enjoyable but disposable musical can be when it's performed with real aplomb. Kingsley sings with effortless power and performs with comic vitality... What's lacking is the vaudevillian rapport between the leading men to lend this silly, twisty story the extra oomph it needs. Despite a big backing ensemble who dance and sing brilliantly... a trace of English reserve lingers. So the characters' self-knowing quips about the show's fictionality are clever rather than hilarious. This musical first appeared in America in 2004. Here, in its British debut, it's good fun. Played with even more conviction, it could be great fun.

Tim Walker of the Telegraph writes: Rightly and refreshingly, Jerry Mitchell, who directs Jeffrey Lane's stage adaptation, is not at all in awe of the film and actually seems to take a lot of pleasure in poking fun at it. Whereas other directors have all too often seemed enslaved by the films that have inspired their shows, this man seems curiously liberated by his. I fancy that it's this approach that has resulted in Mitchell creating something of value in its own right, which works on its own terms as theatre.

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