“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” by LEOS
May Hall, Long Eaton.
May Hall, Long Eaton.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the story of two conmen, Lawrence Jameson and the new boy in town Freddy Benson. Lawrence has heard by way of his friend and assistant, Andre, that a conman called "The Jackal" is in town.
While there’s no room for two swindlers in the little French Riviera town, they decide to work together and the first one of them to get $50,000 out of a woman gets to stay and the other has to leave.
After making this arrangement “The American Soap Queen, Christine Colgate” sweeps into town and becomes the target for both Freddy and Lawrence. Which one, if any, will win and get to reign as the supreme con artist? High jinks and hilarity ensue in this sophisticated piece of mischief.
The Long Eaton Operatic Society have got together a marvellous cast for this musical (they do have a habit of doing that!) and play to their comedy strengths with "Scoundrels".
Dave O'Neal plays the sophisticated smooth talker, Lawrence, with his typically English accent and ways, but we also get to hear Dave's ear for accents as well. This lady killer role suits the suave Mr O' Neal rather well.
Freddy, the younger con artist, is played by Jack Draper and gets to show us his comedy acting side in this musical. I've seen Jack in several musicals before and have seen various sides to his talents.In the last production, "42nd Street" we got to see his tap skills, this time round it's the comedy that is on tap, and he's a natural comedy actor.
Ross Lowe was the perfect choice for Andre. I loved his "Allo Allo" style accent and another wonderful comedy part for Ross.
Loved the role of Jolene Oaks, and as you can guess from the character, she's a country gal, and hitting the right spot in this part was Anna Cousins. Hoe down anyone? Hoe Yes!
Liz Woolley was also wonderful as Muriel, who initially fell under Lawrence's spell but really shone when coupled up with Andre for a slice of comedy heaven, with a side serving of sauce.
Christine Colgate was played by the lovely Siân Scattergood, and another perfect casting. Gorgeous voice and she knows her way round a piece of choreography as well.
A large ensemble created several groups of characters and added to the fun of this musical.
Long Eaton Operatic Society always use top musicians for the rounded sound their orchestra produce. It seems to get bigger every time I have the pleasure of seeing their shows. Under the musical direction of Tom Watkinswith assistant musical director Rob Upton, these layered arrangements for the songs sounded beautiful.This is Tom's first time working with LEOS; I have a feeling it may not be his last.
There are some cracking tunes in this musical, and for me the highlights were the wonderful comedy duet between Jack and Dave "All About Ruprecht", Anna Cousins' "Oklahoma", "Giving Them What they Want", "Dirty Rotten" and of course "Great Big Stuff". Infuriatingly catchy all the way through.
Choreographing the show was the work of Gemma Haigh and what a very stylish job she has done with this musical. And what a great job all the dancers did with Gemma's work.
Patricia Church directs this show and keeps it really tight, which includes the scene changes, making the whole show a smooth affair all round.
May Hall has always been at the mercy of sound issues, depending on where you sit. There was, not so much a problem with the sound tonight, just that in the first act, I think the mics should have been turned up a bit more. By Act Two it had all been sorted out. Andrew James, the man with his finger on the sound, rectified this. It's always a bit hit and miss but this time around it was definitely more hit than miss.
Lighting by Tom Olding was, if you'll pardon the pun, spot on. following on from that bit of corn, the follow spot (Kiah Smith) also did a cracking job.
Smashing wardrobe and make up completed this very funny musical and made it a joy to watch. One more success for LEOS to notch up, and possibly another award winging it's way to them next July.
“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is at May Hall in Long Eaton until Saturday 28 October 2017.