Reviewed by Kym Clayton
Quite simply, OPUSí production of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is the best amateur musical I have seen for years. Based on the popular 1988 film of the same name, this relatively new Tony Award winning musical is about two con artists who compete with each other for the right to call the French Riviera their own personal hunting ground free from the competition of the other. The first to con $50000 out of an unsuspecting victim is the winner, but unfortunately for them they are both scammed by the very person they were both trying to rip-off!
The principals were outstanding. As the two con-men, Doug Wiggins and David Salter were just fabulous. They both displayed acting and singing prowess by the bucket load. Wiggins’ professional experience was clearly in evidence. Just first rate. David Salter is clearly an emerging leading man on the local scene, and I look forward to him broadening his experience in a more serious role in the future. They were more than ably supported by Lindsay Dunn, Fiona DeLaine, April Stuart and Lauren Scarfe, all of whom gave us compelling performances. Stuart and Dunnís rendition of Like Zis/Like Zat was especially entertaining.
There were no weak links in the production. The ensemble was tight and more than complemented the principals. Mel Georgeís choreography was entertaining, witty, and is amongst her best work to date. It showed great sympathy with the music and, importantly, with the lyrics, and gave confidence to the cast. Mark DeLaineís orchestra was DeLaitful! The balance of instruments was spot on, the dynamics were disciplined, and the brass section was especially fine, beautifully controlled in the ëquieterí moments. Kate Anolak’s costume coordination was stylish. The gowns worn by the ladies were particularly grand, and Lexie Dryden’s green velvet number was just exquisite. Full marks. And the set! Tom Bayford’s art deco design assisted the feel of the whole production and comprised large and imposing structural elements that were either flown or trucked with great ease – full marks to Stage Manager Kate Anolak and her well disciplined stage crew. Josh Smart’s light and sound design was also commendable and his mixing was praiseworthy.
Director Harry Dewar and his OPUS team have created a memorable piece of theatre. I cannot recall another production in recent times where so many people have raved about it. Deservedly so. If you missed it, you really missed something.