BWW Review: DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS at Resident Theater Company
Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels the musical, opened this weekend at the Resident Theater Company. For those of you only familiar with the 1988 Michael Caine Steve Martin movie, I will answer the two most important questions right off the bat...YES, Ruprecht the Monkey Boy does make an appearance, and YES, he does sing. Those facts alone are worth the price of a ticket!
For readers who have no idea what I am talking about, the plot of DRS involves Lawrence Jameson (Mark Woodard), a sophisticated and debonair con artist working the French Riviera. Woodard brings great class and elegance to the role, and serves as a wonderful straight man. (Nobody wants to see the comedy duo of Costello and Costello). When the younger and cruder competition, Freddy Benson (Lukas Poost) moves in on his turf, a rivalry, and eventual reluctant partnership, develops between the pair.
Lukas Poost is the spitting image of a younger Steve Martin, not just in looks, but in mannerisms and attitude. This was especially apparent in his number "Great Big Stuff" which reminded me a lot of Martin's goofy "King Tut" number from Saturday Night Live. Poost has a loud, boisterous personality, with the vocal talent to back it up. He is funny and physical and has excellent chemistry with Woodard.
The third side of the show's triangle is Christine Colgate (Baiey Seeker). Introduced as the American Soap Queen, Freddy and Lawrence make a bet on who can scam the woman out of $50,000 with the loser leaving town for good. As with any good caper story, double crossings turn into triple crossings, and you have good reason not to trust anything that anybody says.
Ms. Seeker effectively plays Christine as sweet and innocent. She has a good heart, and it's very clear why these two guys would have a crush on her. She is perfect for all that this role requires.
Jonathan Hadley plays Andre Thibault, a crooked local lawman and Lawrence's accomplice. Sarah Sole plays Muriel Eubanks, another of Lawrence's marks. To be honest, I thought that these two characters were created strictly for the musical, but a quick scan of IMDB informs me that I am wrong. However, I do think that this reinforces my belief that these two characters are not terribly consequential to the plot.
To be clear, this is no judgement on the talents of Hadley and Sole, who were both wonderful. Instead, it is a question of the script which seems a bit padded.
A special shout out to Phillippa Lynas, who has a featured role as Jolene the aggressive oil baroness who just won't say no to Lawrence's reluctance to follow through and marry her. Lynas was very funny in her "Oklahoma?" number, and her Ruprecht freak out scene.
All of the technical aspects of the show were solid. The off stage orchestra did a great job, even though the score was probably not the biggest strength of this show. Props, settings, lighting and costumes were consistently on point.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a show that is both fun and funny. The Resident Theater Company has once again upped their game and produced a very high quality show. Their tagline of "NY Theatre in West Chester" is no mere hyperbole. I look forward to what they have planned next season and beyond.
Tickets and more information can be found at their website.