Theatre Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Published on March 27th, 2015 | by Thomas Ritchie


Review: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is full of laughs, music, fun

An open stage at a community theatre can be both enticing and deceptive.

Such is the case with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which takes the stage tonight for its final weekend run at the Sioux City Community Theatre.

Upon first entry into the theatre, the Scoundrels’ set had little depth, with a large space center stage flanked by a pair of non-descript buildings on each side. The palm trees in the back had me feeling the warmth of the small town where it is set, but I wasn’t fully convinced.

What I discovered quickly was that this show didn’t need an elaborate set. The actors would carry the show.

Wayne Blum and Tony Tran play the lead roles of Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, respectively. At their finest moments, the two bounce off each other in hilarious fashion as con men in the French Riviera who work to woo rich women, and in turn swindle them out of their fortunes. The Tony-nominated show keeps us laughing, and guessing, until the end.

After Freddy wanders into town, the two men attempt to work together. Tran’s performance as Ruprecht is a standout, and really gets the laughs rolling. But as a team, the plan goes awry, and the two men – one a seasoned pro and the other a drifter new to town – decide that one of them must go.

The play then centers on a bet to see who can be the first to scheme a “soap queen” out of $50,000. The loser has to leave town, and its anything goes.

Shelby Book portrays Christine Colgate, who plays the heiress at the center of the grand scheme. The two men pull a number of laugh-out-loud tricks to develop their respective personas, and win her hand, all with the goal of getting at her fortune. Book does a splendid job as the target or their affections, and her singing is a big part of the show.

Leslie Werden puts up a great performance as Muriel, who plays opposite Andre (Mike Skaff), the town police chief and Jameson’s right hand man. Their relationship is woven through the entire performance, and concludes in high fashion. The two bring plenty of experience to the stage, and it shows.

Melissa Stotz-Gulbronson brings her stellar voice in the role of Jolene. Her performance in the first act helps push the story forward. Her singing is a key part of a very musical performance that makes this show great. The music is noteworthy in that the lyrics are witty and elicit laughs where traditional solos might not.

The ensemble rounds out the show, but really plays second fiddle to the leads. They do a fine job of dancing, singing and wending their way through this show, but what we really want are more witty moments with the stars.

And Tran, Blum and Book bring them again and again. At times, we’re not sure who is getting played, and that’s the point of the story, which is based on the 1988 film of the same name.

The show is a bit profane, and after one F-bomb late in the show, the woman behind me asked her friend “was that necessary?” But few others seemed distracted by the four-letter quips. In fact, those lines drew some of the biggest laughs.

Director Tim Hess, a long-time veteran on and off the stage, has had his hand in scores of funny shows, and he clearly challenged his actors to impress.

If this show lacked anything, it was a quick start. It may have been the slim set, or just that the audience was working to understand the storyline. Either way, I wasn’t totally consumed at first. But after the hijinks ensued, I never looked back.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is onstage Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call the theatre at 712-233-2788 for tickets.

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