Left - Matt Hetherington
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tells the story of Lawrence Jameson (Billie Brown) and Freddy Benson (Matt Hetherington), a pair of con artists from different sides of the track who meet in the French Riviera. Lawrence charms wealthy women out of their fortunes as ‘Prance’, a prince battling in a revolution, while Freddy gets $20 here and there with desperate tales of sick grandmothers. Lawrence takes Freddy under his wing and they become partners in crime, but they soon realise there is only room for one con man in Beaumont sur Mer. Christine Colgate (Amy Lehpamer), the American Soap Queen, however, has another idea.
Written by Jeffrey Lane, with music and lyrics by David Yazbek, this musical is very naughty, and very, very, funny, too. The crazy collection of characters, complete with their alter-egos, combine to create a broad comedy at once sophisticated, crude, and very rude. I was laughing from start to finish.
Brown and Hetherington are a wonderful comic duo. Brown providing a solid straight man to Hetherington’s show stealing funny man, Freddy.
Hetherington has a captivating charisma and fearlessness, humping (quite literally!) and bumping about the stage with abandon. ‘All About Ruprecht’, in which Freddy plays as the mentally-challenged Ruprecht, brother to Prance, was too funny to be deemed offensive. Most entertaining, however, was the gospel-inspired ‘Love Is My Legs’, in which Freddy plays as Sergeant Buzz Benson, a war veteran with ‘dance fever’ (i.e. no feeling in his legs), who learns to walk again with the power of love (or, perhaps I should say, lurve) – and Christine Colgate.
Amy Lehpamer was charming as the cunning Christine Colgate. Lehpamer has a lovely voice capable of power and flexibility. Her performance of ‘Nothing Is Too Wonderful to be True’, a duet with the sausage-eating Freddy, was a highlight of the night.
The supporting cast gave just as much life to their kooky little characters. Marina Prior was pleasingly playful as Muriel Eubanks, a wealthy divorcée in want of love. Grant Piro was totally lovable as Andre Thibault, corrupt Chief of Police. And Chelsea Plumley, as Jolene Oakes, an Oklahoma oil heiress, was nothing less than entirely eccentric, performing with an extraordinary, and at times, maniacal, energy.
The Production Company’s Australian premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a delightfully dirty, not at all rotten, night at the theatre.
The Production Company presents
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
music and lyrics David Yazbek | book Jeffrey Lane
Director Roger Hodgman
Venue: State Theatre, the Arts Centre
Dates: 30 Sep - 4 Oct 2009
Times: 30 Sep - 3 Oct @ 7.30pm
Matinee: 3 Oct @ 2pm; 4 Oct @ 3pm
Tickets: $39 - $84
Bookings: 1300 136 166