OGDEN — Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a musical that is based on a 1988 film of the same name. The story follows two con artists who try to get women to part with their money through various different tricks and heists. Unfortunately, I did not find the story as compelling or enjoyable as I had hoped. However, that had nothing to do with the excellence of the cast and creative team. They were able to put together a phenomenal performance with a lot of commendable aspects.
One thing to note right off is that the Ziegfeld management has used their popularity and growth as a theatre company to improve upon their location. Since the last show I had seen at this venue, the Ziegfeld has put in new seats and a new curtain, and the ambiance of the venue has improved greatly. I am pleased to see the management continue to put effort into making this a good venue, and the seats made a significant difference.
Next, I must mention the set design by Erica Choffel and costume design by a team lead by Becky Cole. What was impressive about both the set and the costumes was how they helped the show come alive. As the set opens, the audience is introduced to a world of lavishness, and that is apparent in the set. Additionally, I was impressed with the set changes and how the cast had been able to incorporate comedy into the movement of the set. As for the costumes, it is nice to see a costume designer consider not only the look and feel of the show, but also the movement of the actors within the show. This show had a lot of excellent choreography by Joshua Samuel Robinson, and I have seen many shows where the costumes inhibit the actor’s ability to move and perform, however the costumes in this show complemented the dancing and movement and honestly helped with the flow of the story.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was directed by Rick Rea, and I am continually impressed with his understanding of the patrons that attend his shows. There were a few jokes improved into the show that were specific to the area and the audience, and those jokes did hit exactly where they were supposed to. Additionally, as this theatre is a renovated movie house, it is a smaller space, and Rea has learned how to add dimension to that space in the blocking and design of the entire show.
I commend all five of the main players, as well as an excellent supporting cast. Some of the big numbers, such as “Give Them What They Want,” and the women in “What Was A Woman to Do?” were well executed in regards to choreography, vocals, and cast interaction. I find a good group number is one where my eyes are not sure where to focus, because everywhere I look has something entertaining to offer, and I would say that each of these numbers had that aspect to it.
The two main characters, Lawrence, played by Kevin Ireland, and Freddy, played by Eb Madson, had excellent chemistry. It is an interesting challenge to play characters that despise each other yet have to learn to work together, and each of these actors were able to execute that with ease. One of the highlights of the show was the song “All About Ruprecht,” in which Ireland and Madson exhibited excellent performing skills, comedic timing, and especially in the case of Madson, great physical comedy. Leading lady Heidi Potter Hunt, in the role of Christine, was also very entertaining, from her entrance song (“Here I Am”) to the innocence with which she played the role. There is a plot twist at the end that I will not give away, but Hunt’s acting skills made the twist surprising because she had played her role in such a convincing fashion.
There were three other performances to mention, including Kelliann Johnson in the role of Jolene. Johnson has a number entitled “Oklahoma?” that was one of the highlights of the evening because of her lovely voice and ability to keep up a comedic performance. Additionally, the roles of Andre, played by Daniel Akin, and Muriel, played by Rebecca Marcotte, offered a subplotof romance, and the song “Like Zis/Like Zat” was particularly entertaining because of how it showcased the talent of Marcotte and Akin as they portrayed a change of heart and opinion.
The company and creative team at the Ziegfeld continue to put on good shows, and it is nice that they branch out and do lesser known shows along with the tried and true. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a fun evening out where a theatre goer will not be disappointed. The talent in this performance is impressive, even if the script (by Jeffrey Lane) and score (by David Yazbek) are lacking. Finally, audience members should be aware that there are some themes in the show that contain adult subject matter.