Monthly Archives: June 2014

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Savoy Theatre

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

A cheeky, sharp, and above all, thoroughly enjoyable evening of theatre.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was that show: I couldn’t miss the posters, had heard a general good buzz, but there had been nothing up until now that made me go. Until this week, when I was very generously given a ticket (it’s not bad at all, this blogging lark…)

My complacency soon looked foolish – Robert Lindsay is smart and sharp as a dastardly mature con-man, and Rufus Hound was a revelation as his eager apprentice. Hound’s physical theatre was astonishing –  in one scene where he pretended to choke, his face went so red that I was convinced that a real-life emergency had commenced on stage.

The acting across the board is great, with a standout West End debut from Lizzy Connolly as Jolene, who steals the stage during her relatively brief turn as the forceful Southern blonde. They are accompanied by a fun set, full of little surprises and an array of musical numbers that are light, comedic and knowing.

However, the element of this show that really blew me away, and should send you running to the box office, was the book. Delivered with fantastic comic timing, I was often caused to guffaw loudly at the arrival of an unexpected punchline. This show doesn’t attempt to change the world or enter musical theatre history as one of the greats, it just wants to give its audience a really good evening. It shuns sentimentality and goes straight for the jugular instead, and is all the better for it. This bunch of con-artists would be more than welcome to persuade me into a second visit. Highly recommended.

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The Book of Mormon – Prince of Wales Theatre

the-book-of-mormon1

So, after years of nearly getting tickets, not quite being able to face booking 6 months in advance and thus procrastinating, the lovely people at Official Theatre offered me a freebie this week, and I was finally off to Mormon-land.

I had high hope for this one – whilst not a South Park devotee, I loved Avenue Q, this show has won award after award and keeps cropping up on ‘best of’ lists… I’ve had the soundtrack since it was released a couple of years ago and had chuckled along in anticipation.

There’s no denying it was funny. It’s a big stagey show, with colourful numbers and the desire to shock. The acting was brilliant, with Jared Gertner in particular standing out as the gormless, amateurish but loveable Elder Cunningham. The Mormons and their songs were definitely the highlight for me – the opening ‘Hello’ and the fantastic ‘Turn it Off’ sending up the Mormon culture with a smile hit exactly the right notes and were brilliantly performed by the company.

However, whilst I had a good evening, I have no real desire to rush back for a second viewing – maybe by listening to the songs ahead lessened the impact of the more shocking moments, but personally I feel that a really great show will only be enhanced by knowing the material beforehand. The plot was original and definitely made me laugh, but there were too many slightly uncomfortable, cringey moments for my taste… I felt that Avenue Q did a far better job of using the musical form to tell a controversial tale. This felt more like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to me – more concerned about big flashy numbers and being ‘knowing’ than creating something with real value.

I would definitely recommend going – this show has become part of musical culture and it would be a shame to miss out on a good evening, but it won’t be going on any of my ‘best ever’ lists any time soon.

A massive thank you must go to Official Theatre for giving me the ticket – I would never be able to review big shows if it wasn’t for such gestures as tickets to this size of production just aren’t available to small, independent bloggers like me. Please visit their site for reviews, interviews with the stars and more!

Book of Mormon will be on at the Prince of Wales theatre for the foreseeable future. Book tickets here.

 

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