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January 13, 2010 > Theatre: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels play review

Theatre: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels play review

By Alissa Gwynn

Let the "con"-tests begin! In Stage 1 Theater's production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the book with the same title by Jeffrey Lane, a fabulous battle of scheming and wit takes place between two con artists on the French Riviera.

Lawrence Jameson (Dave Sikula) is the reigning con man on the Riviera, tricking wealthy women into giving him money by telling them that he is a prince whose kingdom is being threatened by a revolution, and needs to raise funds for an army. When Freddy Benson (Robert Lopez) comes into town, the two men argue over who is the better con man and eventually make a bet: the first man to take $50,000 from American "Soap Queen" Christine Colgate (Anne Milbourne) gets to stay as the champion, and the other must leave town. Amidst their wild schemes, the pair put on a show for the audience filled with dirty, rotten, comedic hilarity.

As Director John Maio points out in his director's note, the play is easy follow and enjoy. With excellent sets created by THRUST scenic design & construction, a live orchestra, and vibrant musical numbers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is truly a delight to watch. However, there is an obvious disparity between the skill level of the main actors and the dance ensemble; the dances, although well choreographed, are unsynchronized and lackluster at times. On the other hand, the acting is fantastic. With perfectly delivered jokes, spot-on facial expressions, and excellent chemistry between Sikula and Lopez, it's easy for the audience to get immersed in the storyline.

The true standout in this production is Lopez in his portrayal of Freddy. Of the many scenes and musical numbers, the most memorable are "Great Big Stuff" and "All About Reprecht," where Lopez's comical gestures, audience interaction, and wild antics elicit many laughs from the audience. It was clear he was a crowd favorite, and even if the production had no sets, costumes, or lighting, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels would still be worth attending merely to see his performance.

All in all, Stage 1 Theater has put together an excellent musical well worth seeing. The play is showing at Newark Memorial High School on January 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8:00 p.m., and January 10 and 17 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets or at the door, and are: $25 General Admission at Door, $22 Advance Purchase and Senior, $12 Students (high school and younger), and $18 Group of 12 or more for the same performance.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Stage 1 Theater
January 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8 p.m.
January 10 and 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Newark Memorial High School Theater
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
(510) 791-0287
www.stage1theater.org

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