Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Theatre Royal)

dirtyrottenscoundrelsVenue: Theatre Royal (Sydney NSW), Aug 14 – Sep 1, 2013
Writer: Jeffrey Lane (based on the 1988 film)
Music and lyrics: David Yazbeck
Director: Roger Hodgman
Choreographer: Dana Jolly
Performers: Tony Sheldon, Matt Hetherington, Amy Lehpamer, John Wood, Anne Wood, Katrina Retallick
Image by Kurt Sneddon

Theatre review
The “Broadway Musical” genre is hugely popular, with productions travelling across continents everyday. They represent the ultimate in live entertainment, and consistently provide incredible inspiration to everyday folk by showcasing unimaginable artistic skill and talent.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is an excellent example of a show that ticks all the boxes. It is an engaging and amusing story, peppered with uproariously funny sequences, and a clever plot driven by beautifully written songs. Design elements are of the finest quality. The stage in Theatre Royal is slightly tight, but the venue looks exceptionally elegant and glamorous on this occasion. Performances are beyond “world class” with an Australian cast that can only be described as brilliant.

Matt Hetherington as Freddy Benson is a perfect fit; one can hardly imagine any other actor more suited for the role. Hetherington is the proverbial “triple threat” incarnate, with a killer singing voice, impressive command of choreography, and seriously hilarious comic abilities. His star shines irresistibly bright in this production.

Amy Lehpamer is an absolute delight as Christine Colgate. Her masterful vocals are quite literally perfect, and coupled with her fervency in the comic content of the show, she is completely impressive and a very wonderful musical theatre actor indeed. Like Hetherington, Lehpamer has star quality in spades, and together, they are a surety that this is one production that will never have an “off night” in its entire season. Also noteworthy is Katrina Retallick who has a smaller role as the pistol wielding Jolene Oakes. She earns some of the biggest laughs of the show, and while appearing only in a couple of scenes, they are thoroughly memorable ones.

This is a musical characterised by its vivacious humour. There is an irreverent sensibility that many would love, but others might find challenging. For those of us who enjoy a dose of naughtiness, and are not averse to a little scoundrelly wit, this is a show that will leave an enduring impression for many years to come.