DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS
at the Savoy Theatre
This is a show that can't be accused of taking itself too seriously. And the audience approach it in the same spirit of old-fashioned fun.
First seen on Broadway ten years ago, and based on a Michael Caine movie from the Eighties, it's done as a traditional Musical Comedy, with glamour, gags, and proper chorus boys.
The company is seriously boosted by the arrival in the cast of seasoned troopers Gary Wilmot and Bonnie Langford – their work together is exemplary, and their Like Zis/Like Zat duet in Act Two is one of the best things in the show.
Alex Gaumond now plays Freddy, the slob to the suave Lawrence of Robert Lindsay, who survives from the original cast. Mr Lindsay enjoys sending himself up, undermining his glamour and charm, exchanging banter with the MD Richard and knowing glances with someone in Row E. He channels Henry Higgins, Leslie Philips, and in more reflective moments Michael Aldridge, whom he increasingly grows to resemble.
The design is Riviera Deco, with scenery flying out and sliding in, and the frocks are a delight, too. Less sophisticated is the writing – if the plot pits crass against classy, the former certainly wins out in the words. Just when All About Ruprecht looks set to rival Coward, Freddy's milkshake enema sours the tone. Ah well. The production numbers are impressive – tumbleweed for Oklahoma, and Katherine Kingsley [excellent work as Christine Colgate, the Soap Queen] can make Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True, a trite, forgettable ballad, sound like vintage Porter.
A good night out, just the thing for the office Christmas outing, unsubtle escapist nonsense in the sophisticated surroundings of the Savoy.