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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is set in a mythic French Riviera, a delirious paradise that seems to be populated only by rich Americans, a couple of rival American con artists, and one charmingly corrupt French police chief. It's a concept that would make the French laugh out loud. Not that they don't have their own share of nutty cinematic visions, including le vieux Far West, but because this is Cannes as the returned GIs imagined it. Or Monte Carlo as described by Ian Fleming. This story started out as the film Bedtime Story with David Niven as Lawrence, the urbane seducer who fooled American heiresses with his false identity as a displaced royal from eastern Europe, and with Marlon Brando as a younger hustler.
Brando was willing to take Niven's tutelage, then competed with him in a bet to seduce a vulnerable looking sweet thing. In Lane and Yazbek turned it into a musical with John Lithgow as the more sophisticated seducer. Oh, and that's not all -- back inHollywood actor-writer-director Steve Pink announced that he was developing a treatment with MGM for a new version. That one may come out in The scoundrels will presumably be using i-Phones, tweeting and all that.
Why keep running this tale again and again? Because it's an American male fantasy, for one thing -- living without a care, adored for one's sophistication, looks and title, enjoying wine, women and song, the decadent best of exotic Old Europe.
Plus the fact that we enjoy seeing lightweight cons succeed, thanks to their wits, and we like it even more when the pair of rascals duel with one anonther. The publicity and the poster label Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as being "for MATURE audiences," but those are code words for the fact that there will be some sexual innuendos and bathroom jokes that will make you giggle. The music keeps it lively and there's a movie-style twist and comeuppance at the end.
Director Mary Ellen Butler recruited some Austin-area musical stars for this one. They perform with a polished seven-piece live band led by Lannes Hilboldt, visible in an alcove on set.
In the lead, Joe Penrod, as always, has a fine voice and a canny look, both befitting his role as the phony prince. Andrew Cannata, who has repeatedly appeared as a young dream boat in musical comedies here, does a supercharged, supergoofy, crass junior con man.
As Freddy, he spends a lot of the time way over the top -- when he celebrates his arrival at Lawrence's villa with all the Great Big Stuff, for example,and in scaring off an unsuitable Oklahoma heiress by pretending to be Lawrence's demented, sex-charged, poo-poo-pants brother Ruprecht. In his Act II masquerade as a supposedly handicapped veteran oops, the "sergeant" is wearing a private's single-stripe inia, probably on purposeCannata does a helluva a job -- especially while participating in the godawful funny Love Is My Legs, where he performs the paraplegic equivalent of ing a dancing chorus line.
He has a twinkle in his eye and a French accent that sounds like the real thing, giving a special sparkle to the duet Like Zis, Like Zat where he and Michelle Cheney tease one another with contrasted American and French pronunciation. Felkins is a new face for me. He has a strong c.
His sly pseudo-Gallic humor in this role brings to mind Claude Rains as Bogie's police chief buddy in Casablanca -- except that Rains didn't have to sing. Their cavorting and some of their dialogue really is for mature audiences -- those mature enough to catch the jokes. There are some nasty turns in that battle, involving Lawrence as a German doctor happily using a riding crop to test the sensitivity of Freddie's supposedly numb legs.
The target is worth it, though -- Patty Rowell as Christine, revealed as a detergent company's beauty contest winner instead of an heiress. She's lovely and lively, and she had me fooled completely. This show won't give you much to ponder, but it will keep throwing things at you until you laugh and smile. Michael Meigs established AustinLiveTheatre.
He has written more than reviews of live narrative theatre produced in Central Texas and published another written by colleagues. The Georgetown Palace Theatre, Inc. CTXLiveTheatre receives e-mails at ctxlivetheatre gmail. I'm happy to be invited to attend or review performances of live narrative theatre in central Texas, but there's so much going on that getting to a given production may be impossible.
If I accept a ticket, I will review the performance. Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Georgetown Palace Theatre by Michael Meigs Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is set in a mythic French Riviera, a delirious paradise that seems to be populated only by rich Americans, a couple of rival American con artists, and one charmingly corrupt French police chief. Freddy's "Ruprecht" impersonation in Act I is a ploy to save his mentor Lawrence from marrying Jolene, a loud, swaggering and insistent almost-belle from Oklahoma.
Suzanne Orzech in that role is a hoot and a holler. Choreographers Danny Herman and Rocker Verastique fill the stage up with Jolene and her raucous, stomping Oklahoma kin, much to the Texan delight of the audience. He … ».Naughty reviews georgetown tx
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