Review by Danny Gaisin
History: – First, a comedic play titled ‘Bedtime Story”; thence a name change and a film with Niven & Brando. Next iteration was an updated flick with Caine & Martin. Subsequently a ’05 musical play starring Lithgow and Betz. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS, the quintessential ‘sting’ confidence operation by Launer; Shapiro, and Henning (Beverley Hillbillies & Petticoat Junction) can still amuse, fascinate and entertain in spite of its familiarity and Pygmalion plot-basis.
The musical iteration has a plot modification by Jeffery Lane with Music & lyrics by David Yazbek. This is the version that Theatre Sheridan is now staging and it’s a sure-fire contender for the O.A.R. Top Ten List.
Impeccably directed by Robin Calvert, this is a class ‘A’ production in every aspect. From its impressive sets; dynamite costuming; faultless light & sound, to the potent applications of talent and enthusiasm by a superior cast; D.R.S. will keep its audiences amused and entertained until the final curtain calls end. I loved it! Calvert has wisely acceded to the individual specific talents of her major cast choices and thus, we feel an instinctive credibility to each character interpretation. Like in most things…it’s the DETAILS that polish things to a sheen.
The plot deals with a successful con artist who preys on wealthy ingenuous types and ‘Thomas Crown’ comparable; is highly successful. His Côte d’Azur bailiwick is being attacked by an unknown ‘Jackal’ and suave Lawrence (John MacCormac) contemplates it might be an amateurish Freddie Benson. This young wannabe is amazingly interpreted by Luc Trottier who is a total dynamo. His biographical solo with a chorus background entitled ‘Great Big Stuff’ is not only a show-stopper but could be a philosophical mantra for countless others (like us) trying for the brass ring. Poor Lawrence, with all his looks, charisma, voice and flair; he’s continually upstaged! Two of the ‘marks’; Amy Welcher and Laura Larson, are less convincing in that both tend to cross over that obscure line into hamminess. The third target is Christine and Kimberley-Ann Truong steals every scene she’s in. The girl has that difficult-to- define “Star quality” and she’s a quadruple threat. She sings and faultlessly elocutes; dances up a storm; her acting is impeccable and she possesses a traffic-stopping smile.
The demands on each member of the ensemble are to be a support actor as well as part of a challenging chorus. Not only are the dance numbers demandingly choreographed, they are extensive. Frankly, the ‘More We Dance’ number is so prolonged that interest begins to wane. In comparison, the previous number, ‘Like Zis, like Zat’ performed by Greg Borris & Welcher, is a hit even out of context. Fortunately, both enunciate so clearly that the clever lyrics are comprehensible. Regrettably, Laura Larson’s Jolene mutters her ‘Oklahoma’ (not the Rogers/Hammerstein theme) libretti so badly that they are indecipherable.
The costumes are a visual treat and the wearers present them with mannequin-esque carriage. Even the ladies look comfortably accoutred! There is a musical number that states ‘Give them What They Want’; Sheridan’s DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS does so in spades and will continue to do so until February 23rd. The Studio Theatre’s “GODSPELL” is Sold Out.