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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

a Musical Comedy
by David Yazbek (songs) and Jeffrey Lane (book)

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta on Ponce [WEBSITE]
ID# 4918

SHOWING : July 08, 2016 - August 13, 2016



Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson are two very different con artists. Jameson makes his lavish living by talking rich ladies out of their money, while Benson swindles women with stories about his grandmother’s failing health. They attempt to work together, only to find that this small French town isn’t big enough for the two of them. Now the biggest contest of their lives begins: the winner must extract a fortune from a young heiress, and the loser must leave town. A hilarious battle of cons ensues, keeping you laughing to the end!

Director DeWayne Morgan
Drums and Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Ensemble Jack Allison
Ensemble Maddie Arthur
Ensemble Ty Autry
André Adam Bailey
Christine Misty Barber
Jolene Hannah Lake Chatham
Ensemble Al Dollar
Ensemble Susanna Farfsing
Ensemble Laura Gronek
Ensemble Jarrett Heatherly
Ensemble Patrick Hill
Ensemble Amy L. Levin
Freddy Daniel Pino
Ensemble Akia Sembly
Muriel Abra Thurmond
Lawrence Darrell Wofford
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Great Big Show
by playgoer
Saturday, July 9, 2016
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is a very entertaining musical based on the popular movie. David Yazbek’s songs enhance the story, but the story takes a while to introduce us to the leading lady. We meet the two male leads, who have multiple possible romances (not to mention flirtations with the ensemble), first with the secondary female lead, then with another female who has one song, before we get to meet the true female lead. Still, Jeffrey Lane’s script covers the ground adroitly and with touches of audience-acknowledging humor.

DeWayne Morgan has directed the show with a nice flow, aided by Darrell Wofford’s set design, which uses two revolving units, with occasional set pieces (props by Teresa Bayo), that help to speed frequent set changes. Jarrett Heatherly and Amy L. Levin’s sound design and the band led by Paul Tate make the set changes seem seamless.

Alex LaVelle’s lighting design accomplishes nimble on/off effects, but leaves shadows on either side of the downstage area when general lighting is in effect. The most impressive technical elements are Jane Kroessig’s numerous costumes and Janie Young’s kinetic choreography. They combine to let the audience know that this is a big, flashy musical.

On opening night, all the leads seemed to have occasional vocal issues, mostly a few "off" notes here and there. Nevertheless, this is a pretty good-sounding show. The rather intimate venue allows the songs to be heard, even when it’s the relatively thin voice of Abra Thurmond soloing. Proximity to the audience also helps in scenes involving disguises or differing accents, since in a larger theatre visual identification of individual actors might not be as easy.

Performances are good, with some splendid moments from the brash and wise-cracking Daniel Pino (as Freddy) and the fresh-faced, sweet-voiced Misty Barber (as Christine, the "soap queen"). Darrell Wofford (as Lawrence) does solid work too, ably supported by Adam Bailey (as corrupt policeman André). Hannah Lake Chatham makes a strong impression as the one-song Jolene, and Ty Autry stands out for his dancing in the ensemble. French dialogue is pretty poor in the ensemble, but Adam Bailey’s accent comes across as authentic. Darrell Wofford’s accent is pure American as Lawrence (except when he’s portraying an occasionally hard-to-understand Austrian doctor), so Freddy’s line near the end of the play that assumes Lawrence is British falls flat.

What comes through most clearly in Onstage Atlanta’s production is the show itself. DeWayne Morgan has shaped the piece to let the music and situations shine. The actors all get a chance to shine too, and will probably grow into their roles more completely as the run continues. This promises to be a sold-out show, and it provides a huge dose of entertainment from start to finish. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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