HALF OF A YELLOW SUN (cert.15 1
hr. 41 mins.) stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Odenigbo, an academic who
is heavily involved in his county, Nigeria's politics.
He lives with his devoted houseboy, Ugwu (John Boyega) in the small
university town of Nsukka. Thandie Newton plays Odenigbo's lover,
Olanna, one half of twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. While
Olanna moves to an academic post in Nsukka to be with her lover,
her sister, the glamorous Kainene (Anika Noni Rose), takes over
the family interests, and falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle),
a British jounalist.
The lives of these people are woven together and each person's
actions have an effect on the others. The personal stories of these
folk take place within the turbulent political landscape as their
county is torn apart by the events of the Nigerian war, in particular
the struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic. It
is 1966 and Odenigbo at first welcomes the lgbo military coup but
there is a counter-coup and terrible violence in Nigeria and the
The film is based on the 2007 Orange Prize-winning
novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The novel, however, provides
insights into the character of the houseboy, Ugwu, who plays a minor
part in the film. In fact the movie is composed of a number of short
scenes that concentrate on the personal relationships of the two
main couples and the civil war forms the background. At the end
of the film we are given information about the continuing lives
of the characters, as though they are real.
The actors taking the parts of the main characters are all very
good and the film is worth seeing for Ejiofor who once more provides
the audience with a believable person. Newton is also good in showing
the vulnerable side to her character and also the ability to be
strong to help her partner.
The director, Biyi Bandele does his best to bring to life a complex
novel. He is, however, not able to convey all the intricacies of
the characters and surrounding turmoil in little over an hour and
And now a film to take your grandkids to over the Easter holidays.
RIO 2 (cert. U 1 hr. 42 mins.) is once again directed
by Carlos Saldanha, who directed the very successful first RIO
In this movie, the director reunites his characters and returns
to Brazil. Following his wife, Jewel's wishes, Blu (voiced by Jesse
Eisenberg) takes the whole family to the unknown territory of the
Amazon. Jewel is keen for the family to live like real birds and
wants to get her children away from reliance on human aids like
laptops. Blu is against the uprooting, but because he believes that
"a happy wife means a happy life!" he goes along with what his wife
wants. He believes the family to be the last of the Blue Macaws.
The children are Bia (Amandla Stenberg), who loves
reading books and coming out with facts and figures, like her father;
Tiago (Pierce Gagnon), the youngest, who is most adventurous even
if he often gets into trouble; and Carla (singer/actress/comedian
Rachel Crow), the eldest, a lively teen who wants to concentrate
on her music away from the family.
While Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway) and the three children are
happy to be in the Amazon, particularly Jewel as she is reunited
with her father, the dominating Eduardo (Andy Garcia), Blu finds
it hard to fit in. The family meets Mimi (Rita Moreno), Eduardo's
sister, who likes to speak her mind, even to her overbearing brother.
They also meet Roberto (singer-songwriter-record producer Bruno
Mars), a former special friend of Jewel, who is still very charming
and makes Blu feel inadequate. Blu and Jewl discover that there
are many other Blue Macaws in the jungle so they are not alone.
Unfortunately for Blu and his family they are pursued by the villainous
cockatoo, Nigel (Jemaine Clement), who is out for revenge after
his ignominious departure from RIO, and his side-kick, Gabi (Kristin
Chenoweth), a poisonous frog, who adores Nigel. Also accompanying
Nigel is Charlie, a mute, tap-dancing anteater. In search of the
Blue Macaws, too, are old friends of Blu and Jewel, the humans,
Linda (Leslie Mann) and her husband, Tulio (Roderigo Santori), who
prove to be of great assistance to our bird family).
In bright colours the film is lively with some bouncy music. In
3D the photography is lovely and the animation first class. Amusing
dialogue well put across by the cast of experienced actors, this
is one film that should appeal to the whole family.
THE PAST (cert. 18 2 hrs. 3 mins.) is an excellent
film, directed by Iranian Asghar Farhadi. I liked it very much and
anyone who saw The Separation by the same director should
particularly appreciate it. My critic friend Derek Winnert
has written the following for us:
Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), an Iranian man has deserted his French wife,
Marie Brisson (Bérénice Bejo), and her two children in Paris to
return to his homeland. He returns to France after four years to
finalise his divorce only to find his soon to be ex-wife's new domestic
situation is a minefield.
His wife has started up a new relationship with the young handsome
but angry and controlling Arab man named Samir (Tahar Rahim), who
also has a son and a wife in a coma. Ahmad is now forced to confront
this harsh reality as he re-meets his wife and her daughters from
her previous marriage after her request for a divorce. The older
daughter thinks her mother is the cause of Samir's wife's comatose
state and discloses to Ahmad the details of something heinous she
has done in the past.
Subtly, complexly written and intensely directed
by Asghar Farhadi, The Past is very powerfully and persuasively
performed, with all three main actors standing out. This is a very
impressive, claustrophobic, disturbing movie. There's a lot of suppressed
rage and anger in the movie, but a lot more deep hurt and endless
It triumphed at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Bejo won Best
Actress award and the film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury,
though it lost out to Blue Is the Warmest Colour for the Palme d'Or
and also lost out as Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.
This is the trouble with prizes. You can make a great film, as here,
and go home empty handed every time.
Although based on David Mamet's 1974 play Sexual Pervisity in Chicago,
which was made into a film starring Debi Moore and Rob Lowe in 1986,
the new movie ABOUT LAST NIGHT (cert.15 1 hr. 40
mins.) is now a lightweight piece with a Black cast as leads. Set
in Los Angeles it actually takes place in the present day but in
many ways seems like the 80s. Bernie (Kevin Hart) goes to meet his
new girlfriend Joan (Regina Hall). He brings his newly single friend
Danny (Michael Ealy) along to try and cheer him up and Joan brings
her friend Debbie (Joy Bryant), who is also single. It is not long
before Debbie and Danny hook up.
The rest of the film deals with the on-off sexual couplings of
Bernie and Joan and the growing, more romantic liaison between Danny
and Debbie. While Bernie and Joan can't keep their hands off each
other when they are not arguing and fighting, the other couple move
in together and seem to be heading for a happy-ever-after future.
However, all is not straightforwardly blissful, and while Bernie
and Joan secretly get back together while pretending to their friends
that they are still at loggerheads, Danny and Debbie actually break
up. And so it goes on…
Kevin Hart goes full throttle as Bernie and he is
well matched by Regina Hall who also gives her all as his on-off
lover. The two work well together and seem to be ad-libbing at least
some of the time. They are very loud and there is almost a battle
to see who can make the most noise. The other couple is fairly serene
by comparison and both Joy Bryant and Michael Early are very good
looking and make a lovely couple. While there is not the high voltage
exuding from them, there is sufficient romantic tension to keep
one's interest. There is a great exchange of views on the sexual
performance of their partner by Bernie and Joan at the beginning
when they each tell their friend what happened the night before.
Their description of the sexual acts that took place varies in both
the quality and longevity of the main act.
Hart now has a huge personal following. While I am certainly not
one of his fans, there is enough in this film, albeit of a fairly
low standard, to make one smile, although not sufficient to bring
about real laughter. For an evening of very light entertainment,
this movie might well fit the bill.
I have officially found a replacement for Judi Dench:
well, not so much a replacement as an addition. We always knew that
Imelda Staunton was a good film actress; her performance in Vera
Drake was just wonderful. Now in GOOD PEOPLE (Hampstead
Theatre until 5 April and transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre 10
April until 14 June 2014 Box Office: 0844 482 5130) Staunton
shows that she is a magnificent stage actress too.
In David Lindsay-Abaire's well-written play she is Margaret -
known as Margie - who works in a dollar-store in South Boston, a
working class area. She is often late as she is caught up with the
care of her disabled daughter. When she loses her job she believes
that an old boyfriend, Mike (Lloyd Owen), who has recently returned
as a successful doctor in the fertility field, will be able to help
her as, "Mikey…he was always good people."
Imelda Staunton as Margaret
& Lloyd Owen as Mike in Good People
Desperate for a job as she is so short of money that
she can't pay the rent, Margie goes to his office then his home
to plead with him. He is now wealthy with a younger wife, Kate (Angel
Coulby) and has no job for her. The difference between the two is
vividly portrayed - where Mike has been able to get a good education
and rise up in the world. Margie just exists as a single mother
with no hope for a bright future.
The cast are all very fine with lovely performances from everyone,
particularly June Watson as Margie's landlady with a sharp tongue
and Angel Coultby as Mike's wife who welcomes Kate and tries to
offer her a baby-sitting job which her husband vetoes. Lloyd Owen
manages to convey the awkwardness Mike feels in confronting his
former girlfriend with his pride in having managed to progress in
the world. Above all Staunton is pitch perfect from her accent which
is spot-on to her projection and above all her ability to inhabit
her character in such a way that although we see her behaving in
a nasty way with her former boyfriend we support her desire to look
after her daughter and have a better life.
The move to the West End is well-deserved and the play is highly
recommended. Book now!
My colleague, Ted Craig reviews the next play
THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F is a most stunning
piece of theatre and is highly recommended. It is on a national
tour* until the end of June - if it is coming anywhere near you,
don't miss it!
The Two Worlds of Charlie F is a soldier's view of service, injury
and recovery. Moving from the war in Afghanistan, through the dream
world of morphine-induced hallucinations to the physio rooms of
Headley Court, the play explores the consequences of injury, both
physical and psychological, and its effects on others as the soldiers
fight to win the new battle for survival at home.
Cassidy Little in Charlie
While this sounds heavy it is not - it's a very personal
and very moving look at the effects of war on individual combatants
which also has a huge amount of humour and humanity.
One stunning scene has a traditional Sergeant Major ordering a
soldier to fall in. The soldier enters in full uniform and the sergeant
major describes what he is wearing and carrying; not only the usual
gun, ammunition, bayonet and all but a full medical kit including
ligatures and morphine. We are told that it weighs 70 kilos and
is carried all day in the 40+ degree heat of Afghanistan. Then the
soldier is ordered to strip to his shorts - this he does, revealing
a very fit, buff body. The sergeant major then tells us about the
effects of the soldier stepping on an improvised explosive device
and proceeds to draw on the soldier's body with a red pen where
the various injuries could be. The soldier ends up with red ink
all over him and the effect is both appalling and very moving as
we are so simply made aware of the every-day dangers faced by the
The company of fifteen are very strong, many are in wheelchairs
and they are led by Cassidy Little, a Canadian-born Royal Marine
who lost a leg in his second tour of Afghanistan and who introduces
the play and acts as our guide throughout. He gives a splendid,
authoritative and telling performance and sets the tone for a thoroughly
professional and inspiring evening.
THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F is currently on a
national tour. Its future dates are:
- 17-22 March Richmond Theatre 0844 871 7651
- 26 - 29 March Wolverhampton Grand 01902
42 92 12
- 31 March – 5 April Malvern Theatre 01684
- 14-19 April Nottingham Theatre Royal 0115
- 21 – 26 April Churchill Theatre Bromley
0844 871 7620
- 28 April – 3 May Newcastle Theatre Royal
0844 811 2121
- 6-10 May Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 63
- 19-21 May Wycombe Swan 01494 512 000
- 22-24 May G Live Guildford 0844 7701 797
- 27-31 May Mercury Theatre Colchester 01206 573948
- 2-7 June Truro Hall for Cornwall 01872 262 466
- 9 - 14 June Opera House Manchester 0844 871
While not expecting to really like this show, I ended up loudly
applauding alongside the most enthusiastic audience I have come
across this year. Sure, I CAN'T SING! (London Palladium
booking until 25 October 2014 Box office 0844 412 2704) is no masterpiece,
but the writing and music of Harry Hill and Steve Brown along with
lively direction by Sean Foley, bring wit and sparkle to this satirical
portrayal of the X Factor talent-show. There is no great story-line
but what there is comes across as tender in the midst of all the
razzle dazzle of the on-stage antics. Although Simon Cowell is portrayed
as an egotistical producer and co-host of the real X Factor, we
notice with surprise that he is a co-producer of I Can't Sing!
The story is one that we would expect from the reality show format
in that each of the main characters is given a back story - and
quite a lot of fun is gained from some of them. This musical highlights
Chenice (Cynthia Erivo), who wants to study but has no money. She
lives with her dying grandfather in a caravan beneath a London motorway.
When Max (Alan Morrissey), a plumber, enters her life he persuades
her to apply for the X Factor. By various means she and Max become
They fall for each other and remain together in spite
of moves by Simon Cowell (Nigel Harman) and his co-panellist Jordy
(Victoria Elliott) - the Cheryl Cole look alike - to separate them.
The show as with the real one has a number of weird contestants,
all of whom flaunt their back stories in a series of satirical songs.
It might be difficult for those not familiar with the actual X Factor
to understand what is going on. And it is offensive to make fun
of a hunchback and other disabilities and races. This show reminded
me of Jerry Springer: the Musical, but that was far rudder!
Katy Secombe is particularly good as Brenda, a supermarket cashier
singing and dancing on a supermarket conveyor belt. Nigel Harman
captures the swagger and over-confident self-absorbent manner of
Cowell really well and his open shirt is instantly recognisable.
Cynthia Erivo has a strong musical tone and puts across her numbers
with verve. Alan Morrissey, too, has a likeable persona and can
There are echoes of songs from other musicals - obviously deliberate
- so we have a reminder of Les Mis when the hopeful contestants
waiting outside the TV centre raise a banner and move forward. The
choreography is very simple and the chorus dancing reminded me of
when I worked on Sunday Night at the Palladium many moons ago!
The show begins and ends with Simon: at the start we see his ambitions
grow from when he was a small boy and at the end ….well, let's say
a flying saucer is involved.
My overall verdict would be that it is loud, brash, amusing and
The RSC have pulled off a tremendous feat in bringing Hilary Mantel's
two multi-award winning books to the stage. So successful are they
in Stratford that both are now coming to London and will play together
with the same cast of characters throughout. This was done a long
time ago, 1980 in fact, by Trevor Nunn and John Caird in their production
of Nicholas Nickleby at the Aldwych Theatre for the RSC.
WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES
(RSC Swan Theatre, Stratford -upon -Avon until 29 March then at
the Aldwych Theatre, London 1 May until 6 September 2014)
Attempting the adaptation of huge novels like Mantel's is an
enormous task. Both plays run for three hours with an interval and
even then much of the novel is discarded or truncated. WOLF
HALL starts in 1527 when Henry V111 has been on the throne
for almost 20 years without a male heir. He blames Katherine of
Aragon his wife, who was the wife of his brother who died. Now the
King wants a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn and he orders
Cardinal Wolsey to make the Pope grant an annulment.
Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell
and Lydia Leonard as Ann Boleyn
Thomas Cromwell, a lawyer and former mercenary, of
low birth and a violent background works for the Cardinal and grows
in importance in the life of the King. The King is displeased at
the Cardinal's delay and Cromwell works to give the King what he
wants and at the same time advance his own position and political
agenda. The time span is approximately 1527 to 1535.
The second part, BRING UP THE BODIES follows directly
on. It is now 1535 and Anne Boleyn is Henry's wife and therefore
Queen of England, in the main due to Thomas Cromwell who managed
to get Archbishop Thomas Cranmer to annul the King's first marriage
to Katherine of Aragon. The former Queen and her daughter are under
house arrest, but in separate homes. The divorce and re-marriage
have caused a break with the Catholic Church and England is in a
The Lord Chancellor, Thomas More has been executed and Cardinal
Wolsey is dead. Cromwell is very close to the King, who treats him
as his main advisor. Poor Anne Boleyn's downfall is carefully chronicled.
Still out to further his own ambitions, Cromwell manipulates everyone
to achieve his aims, at the same time obeying Henry and looking
after England's interests. While Mantels books tell the story mainly
from Cromwell's point of view, the play widens the focus and with
Ben Miles in the main part, we are still able to see how Cromwell
is able to get his own way and persuade the King that he is the
right person to have by his side.
The two main women in these plays are nicely contrasted by Lucy
Briers as his first wife, the religious and loyal Katharine and
Lydia Leonard as feisty Anne of Boleyn. There is a brilliant characterisation
of Princess Mary, Henry's daughter with Katharine, by Leah Brotherhood.
We also see Brotherhood as Jane Seymour who gradually grows in strength
as she edges upwards.
Mike Poulton's dramatisation of Mantel's novels is outstanding
and under director Jeremy Herrin and a wonderful group of actors
the epic books have been turned into accessible plays that are not
to be missed.
I urge you to buy your tickets now!
FATAL ATTRACTION (Haymarket Theatre until 21 June
2014 Box office: 020 7930 8800) suffers from its audience being
over familiar with the 1987 film version which starred Michael Douglas
as the errant husband and Glenn Close as the evil ex-lover out for
revenge - yes it is the film with the boiling of the child's bunny
Mark Bazeley is the New York lawyer, Dan Gallagher, who, while
his wife Beth (Kristin Davis) is away, picks up a book editor, Alex
Forest (Natascha McElhone) in a bar and has a highly sexual affair
with her over two days. While Dan is quite content to go back to
his wife and daughter at the end of this time, Alex stalks him and
undertakes a number of terrifying and increasingly psychotic acts,
including the bunny boiling.
Mark Bazeley as Dan Gallagher
and Natascha McElhone as Alex Forrest
Dan acts as narrator and the audience is pushed to
feel sorry for him, when actually he began the whole sorry business
by cheating on the wife he professes to love.
It is surprising to find that Trevor Nunn has chosen this play
to direct as he is usually spot-on in discerning what will work.
He has, however, got a competent cast. McElhone is absolutely beautiful
and manages to show Alex's increasingly disturbed behaviour in a
way that is almost believable. I didn't find Bazeley exuding a huge
amount of charm, although his scenes with his family work well.
Davis in the more minor female role, gives a good sympathetic rendering
of the unsuspecting wife.
The play looks good with the production designed by Robert Jones
and the scenes segue well one into the next. James Dearden has altered
parts of his film script for the theatrical adaptation and the ending
is different, so the audience will still find some surprises here.
As a play which teaches - or attempts to teach - husbands that
cheating is wrong and can lead to disaster it works and on that
note you are recommended to see the play!
The little Park Theatre (Box office 020 7870 6876), which
is just two minutes from Finsbury Park tube station, has not been
going long, but is already gaining a reputation as a place to visit
to see good shows.
Steve John Shepherd (left)
and James Bolam in Bomber's Moon
The recently staged DO I HEAR A WALTZ, which
I originally saw as one of the Lost Musicals, is based on the play
The Time of the Cuckoos, has music by Richard Rogers, and lyrics
by Stephen Sondhiem. People might be familiar with the story through
the 1955 film Summertime starring Katherine Hepburn. At the Park
Theatre it was staged in a minimalist style with the characters
seated on chairs and around tables with little in the way of set
design - other than back cloths depicting the scene - or big set
Revived by the Charles Court Opera we see an American
secretary Leona (Rebecca Seale) falling in love with an antiques
dealer, Renato (Philip Lee). This is a pleasant enough piece which
is well sung by all and contains amusing moments as well as giving
us a somewhat conventional love story. There are not many really
catchy songs but No Understand shows how Sondheim presents
a little play all in one song.
Very different is BOMBER'S MOON now on at the
Park Theatre until 11 May. Box office: 020-7870 6876.
Based on writer William Ivory hearing his father talk about his
time in the RAF Bomber Command, it is a very well written play which
manages to deal with faith as well as an old man's recall of his
second World War experiences. The faith part comes when the old
man, Jimmy (James Bolam) who lives in a residential care home meets
his new carer, David (Steve John Shepherd) who tells his story of
how he became a committed Catholic. Jimmy asserts his right to be
an atheist and the two men discuss what faith means or doesn't mean
to them. But neither is completely truthful and we gradually learn
more about each of them and the part that faith plays in their lives.
At the beginning I was concerned that the emphasis on pills, suppositories
and toilet going might all prove too much to watch, but the play
didn't dwell on the personal care so much as on the wider issues
of being old, one's memories all being in the past and the younger
man's approach to the older one and how he combines his faith with
everyday life. There are many very funny scenes and also moving
ones when Jimmy, who is suffering from a number of serious complaints,
is forced to depend on David.
Bolam is really good in the part of the older man. We see him alone
and with David (who also plays others in Jimmy's past) remembering
his war years and his time flying and the mounting adrenaline before
an attack. Steve John Shepherd proves a competent partner and his
own reminiscences are well acted. Director Matt Ashton manages to
combine the past memories with the action taking place at the present
time in the residential home. It's a well-written play, beautifully
delivered by the two actors. Go see.
What must be one of the worst titles of a show ever, URINETOWN:
the musical (St James Theatre until May 3 Box office: 0844
264 2140) is actually very good indeed.
The musical has more than a touch of Brecht about it as the narrator
Officer Lockstock (Jonathan Slinger) talks to the audience in a
direct manner and comments on the action. We see a society which
is deprived of their private toilets and the prices rise as they
queue up to use the public ones but when they are no longer able
to afford the public toilets, some pee in the streets and are subject
to arrest. The public amenities are run by the ruthless capitalist
Caldwell B. Caldwell (Simon Paisley Day).
Richard Fleeshman (Bobby Strong)
and Jenna Russell (Penelope Pennywise)
When his daughter Hope Cladwell (Rosanna Hyland)
returns home she falls in love with the rebel Bobby Strong (Richard
Fleeshman) leading to a distinct clash between her and her dad.
Amongst the outstanding characters in Urinetown Jenna Russell stands
out as Penelope Pennywise, the stroppy lavatory attendant and Karis
Jack is a feisty Little Sally. There is some good comic business
performed by the large cast. Paisley Day shows us his true villainous
side as the capitalist and Hyland makes a sweet romantic feminist
who joins the rebels. Slinger, who is well known to RSC audiences,
gives a surprisingly good turn in a comic role.
There are some clever lyrics and the music is of the Sondheim kind
- telling a story and/or illustrating a character. The set is striking
too with the public amenity dominating the middle of the stage when
the show opens. Director Jamie Lloyd makes sure that the energy
of the show keeps going. If you want a musical which addresses environmental
issues in an amusing, non-patronising manner, see this and enjoy
the music, lyrics and rounded performances.
The Old Vic has come up with an extraordinary drama set in America
and focussing on a family who are virtually torn asunder when their
family secrets are exposed to each other. While OTHER DESERT
CITIES (until 24 May Box office: 0844 871 7628) has many
dramatic moments, it is also very amusing and well directed by Lindsay
Posner, who catches the rhythm of the play’s American author,
Jon Robin Baitz, and also uses the Old Vic’s transformation
into an in-the–round stage with authority.
When their daughter Brooke (Martha Plimpton), who has been in
hospital suffering from depression, returns home to Palm Springs
for the holidays on Christmas eve 2003, her father, Lyman Wyeth
(Peter Egan), a retired movie star and mother Polly (Sinead Cusack)
a former writer of a series of low grade movies, and an ardent Republican
like her husband, hope for a peaceful family Christmas. But Brooke
has just completed a book about her family and in particular the
suicide of the oldest boy, who has planted a bomb in US army recruitment
centre. The bomb killed the janitor.
Peter Egan as Lyman and Sinead
Cusack as Polly in Other Desert Cities
Her brother Trip (Daniel Lapine), the producer of
a TV show has also returned home and he and Polly's alcoholic sister,
Silda (Clare Higgins) already know about the book. It is now that
Brooke tells her parents and shows them the book. Not surprisingly
they are horrified and plead with their daughter to wait until they
are dead to reveal it.
There are even more surprises to come and the play remains absorbing
until the end with many laughs along the way as well as more serious
moments when the play deals with alcoholism, depression, suicide,
family ties, loyalty and other matters with which this particular
family have to cope.
The play has some of the best ensemble acting that I have seen
in a long while. It would be invidious to pick out one or two actors
as every single member has their moment in the spotlight and all
deliver exceedingly well. Clare Higgins' skin even has the look
of an alcoholic. The play is certainly worth seeing.
And now let's finish with another musical based on a film. DIRTY
ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Savoy theatre booking until 29 November
Box Office 0844 871 3046), book by Jeffrey Lane, music
and lyrics by Dabid Yazbek, should appeal to many. Set on the French
Riviera in the late 1950s, it certainly has an old fashioned air
in the story of a very successful conman, Lawrence (Robert Lindsay)
who makes loads of money getting very rich women to part with their
cash and jewellery by telling them tall stories and pretending to
be a different character with each one
Rufus Hound and Robert Lindsay
in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
He meets and takes under his wing Freddy (Rufus Hound)
who is dealing with very small amounts of money. Lawrence decides
to teach him how to enter the big league. During their time on the
Riviera they come into contact with two women: rich English tourist,
Muriel (Samantha Bond) and Katherine Kingsley, as a seemingly very
rich woman from the Midwest. Minor characters include a police chief
(John Marquez), who works alongside the two conmen and has a hot
romantic encounter with Muriel.
Based on the 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin,
the musical doesn't have stars of this calibre, but Lindsay and
Hound work well together and the audience can feel the chemistry
between them. Lindsay is sometimes a bit too self-assured when he
talks to the conductor and almost directs the flow of the scenes,
but Hound remains in second place. Bond has a delightful comic touch
and the dances are presented competently under choreographer and
director Jerry Mitchell.
While Kingsley really knows how to dance, none of the four leads has a great voice, which makes the musical somewhat lacking in musicality. A number of the songs are in the style of better known ones such as Oklahoma. However, Lindsay certainly has charm and Hound is a most likeable chap. I think you should pass a most agreeable evening at the theatre with these scoundrels.