Based on the 1988 film of the same name Dirty Rotten Scoundrels had reasonable success on Broadway in 2005 where it ran for just over a year. It has taken until now for it to get across the pond and what a breath of fresh air it is as it breezes into the West End.
High class con man Lawrence has worked his magic on the unfortunate ladies of the French Riviera town of Beaumont-Sur-Mer with profitable panache for 14 years. When the rough and ready Freddy arrives on his patch Lawrence decides to take him under his wing and show him the ropes. Egos and greed soon get in the way and lead the two con artists to go head to head. The first to con holidaying socialite Christine out of $50,000 gets to stay on and con, the loser has to leave the lucrative town for good.
If ever there were an actor so deliciously and perfectly cast it is the outstanding Robert Lyndsay as the dashingly debonair Lawrence. With a charm and charismatic ease of presence Lyndsay glides his way through with a twinkle in his eye and a swing in his step. Perfect comic timing, a strong voice and smooth moves all remind us that Lyndsay really is a good old fashioned showman of the highest calibre.
Rufus Hound is far less likeable and simply doesn’t have the personality or indeed the showmanship of his co-star, however that is exactly what is needed for the two con-men to work well together so somehow it works. His lack of grace makes the relationship a totally believable one and is great fun to watch. The comedy business between the two of them works a treat.
Support is equally as strong in the form of Samantha Bond as a vulnerable and slightly bumbling Muriel. Bond strikes you as being uneasy in her unfamiliar foray into the world of musicals but carries it off splendidly and with a beautiful air of class about her.
Katherine Kingsley makes a striking Christine, all legs and dumb blonde to begin with her wicked underbelly soon being exposed with a classic Essex twist at the very end. John Marquez adds his dashing local French Va Va Voom to Andre who uncertainly sweeps Bonds Muriel off her feet.
With light and airy designs by Peter McKintosh and slick and polished direction by Broadway veteran Jerry Mitchell this is a show that will send you away with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.