Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opened strong at Flint Community Players Thursday. This show will definitely warm up the cold evenings for you.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, book by Jeffery Lane, music and lyrics by David Yazbek, is about several cons trying to con each other. It is hard to tell who the “good” folks are in this musical. Lawrence and Freddy are the two main con people. They are bold, grand schemers. They live for the excitement and danger of the game, and they play to win. Only in this play the schemes don’t quite go the way they are supposed to and in the end there is an even grander scheme being played. All of this mayhem leads to a great deal of rousing laughter.
Sorry, if you want to know how it ends, you have to see the musical.
I was impressed by several points. Director Jonathan Smith cast a great group of actors. The ensemble was extremely well played and it was great fun to watch them. The dancing and singing were well done. The cast truly defined ensemble. The play moved smoothly throughout. The backstage crew is to be complemented for a wonderful job; we hardly noticed they were there. The cast seemed to have loads of chemistry, which is always a good thing.
The play did begin a little slow and the music was a tad off, but a few minutes into it and they were on their way to a good show. There was also some microphone static, but it didn’t detract from the performance.
Jesse Glenn played Lawrence Jameson, a smooth, sophisticated con man who was very believable. Conning people looked easy. He carried the part off with such energy that even though he was the bad guy, we were still rooting for him. He had a plan and a counter plan for everything.
Michael Poehner played Andre Theabault, the assistant to Lawrence. His French accent was highly suspect, but he carried it off. Of all the con men, he actually gets the girl even though he was just trying to help his boss out. The romantic scenes were very well played.
Carrie Hayes played Christine Colgate a very innocent young woman who was genuinely trying to help Freddy who was faking paralysis. This was done sincerely and her songs and dances were well done. She also played the innocent part extremely well. She was an exciting character to watch. She captured the hearts of both bad guys and those of the audience. Her purple and black outfit combined with her red hair clearly set her apart from the others.
Lindsey Tatum played Muriel Eubanks. She played the part to the nth degree. Her songs and dancing were a joy to watch. The romantic scenes with Poehner were wonderfully done. At the finish, she got her man. Not the con man, but the assistant. Never underestimate love and romance because they say it conquers everything. Andre had no chance of escaping Muriel.
Patrick Munley played Freddy Benson, the other major con artist. He and Jesse had very energetic parts with a lot of action. Freddy comes across as a bumbler with a sob story to fit every occasion. Munley handled this part giving a very strong and energetic performance. He handled the wheelchair with ease. He and Glenn made quite the team.
Lauren Kondrat played Jolene Oakes, a wild cowgirl from Oklahoma. Her song “Oklahoma” was a show-stopper. She came on with a burst of energy and left everything out there on the stage. Her outfit defined her, and she was a lot of fun to watch.
During the show we sort of got the impression that each group that sang was trying to raise the bar for the next song. If that’s true, it worked really well.
Others with small parts that gave strong performances included Amber Fullner as Renee, Rose Adams as Sophia, Marie Vanhorn as Lenore, and Micah Pitts as Gerard.
Director Smith, Musical Director Rafael McDaniel, and Choreographer Andrea Allen did a great job with this show. The orchestra is also to be commended.
I highly recommend Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for an enjoyable evening. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels runs from November 12, 13, 14, 20, 21, 2015 at 7:30pm, and November 15 & 22, 2015, at 2:30pm. Flint Community Players is located at 2462 Ballenger Hwy., Flint MI, 48507. For more information contact the Box Office – 810-441-9302 or online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com.