WE COULD all do with a break from the doom and gloom around at the moment and The Norbury Players’ stage version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels does just that.
This is fun-filled, feelgood theatre with clever one-liners and great visual gags.
The enjoyment of staging the show can be clearly seen in the cast from the off and transpires almost immediately to those watching.
Well directed by Ellie Taylor, it takes place in the south of France and centres around suave and sophisticated Lawrence Jameson who makes an extravagant living, persuading very rich ladies to part with their very fine jewellery and their large wads of cash.
After a meeting with petty American fraudster Freddy Benson, the pair try working together but find the small French town is not big enough for both of them. So they make a bet to see who is ‘king con’ with the loser having to leave town.
The piece has a lively start with ‘Give Them What They Want’ which, along with the convivial cabaret-style choreography that continues throughout, sets the tone for the production.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has a cast of just 13 who all play their parts brilliantly – six main characters and seven versatile ensemble members who get to appear in an array of roles, including house staff, hotel guests, dancers, sailors and even nuns.
You will struggle to find a show with such lovable main characters and you find yourself drawn to each one for a different trait.
Another amazing aspect about the show is the way the six main performers take centre stage for at least one big solo number.
Stacie Jordan conveyed Jolene well, particularly in ‘Oklahoma’, and Vicky Moloney as Muriel and Alan Nicholls as Andre come into their own in the second half, literally becoming the most lovable ones and providing a saucy sprinkling of naughtiness.
Christine Colgate who is pivotal to the plot was well-played by Jo Hargreaves and Paul Robinson wooed the crowd as a fantastic Freddy.
But the performance of the evening went to Chris Sugars as the James Bond-esque Lawrence. Despite him preying on and duping gullible women into parting with their cash, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Among the many highlights were ‘All About Ruprecht’ where Lawrence and Freddy work together to deter Jolene’s interest and, after a great humorous hook to bring the curtain down on the first half, the start of the second with ‘Hotel Yodel’ which produced plenty of laugh out loud moments.
The second half takes the audience on a roller-coaster of emotions as the impetus shifts from one character to the next. It flips from funny to heart-warming and, at times, cringy. This is especially true during ‘Love is in My Legs’ where you find yourself almost watching through your fingers.
But by the end, after a couple of hours of escapism in the south of France, you feel refreshed and ready to face the real, and less light-hearted, world again.
The remaining performances take place tonight (Thursday), Friday (June 9) and Saturday (June 10) and between next Wednesday (June 14) and the following Saturday (June 17).
Tickets are £14 (£12 concessions).
They are available online at www.norburytheatre.co.uk or by calling 01905 770154.
Don’t miss out on this tantalising trip to the French Riviera.