Review: Those Dirty Rotten Scoundrels are perfectly cast in Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company’s show

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Saffron Walden Town Hall

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Saffron Walden Town Hall - Credit: Archant

A rattling good story is always a good place to begin, so this convoluted tale of conmen being conned set Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company off to a flying start (for their show at Saffron Town Hall from March 6-10).

The story centres on Lawrence, an established conman operating on the French Riviera, and his efforts to get rid of Freddy, a new operator on the scene who is apparently known as “The Jackal”.

The two male leads were perfectly cast, Bob Rawlinson-Mills, suave and sophisticated as Lawrence, and Jason Austin-Guest, revelling in Freddy’s dishevelled incompetence before at one point morphing into a creature so revolting that the audience hardly dared look and this reviewer wonders if we should fear for the actor’s private life.

Female lead Lizzi Rawlinson-Mills initially played Christine so sweetly that those audience members unfamiliar with the story would have been quietly praying for her to not fall victim to Lawrence or Freddy’s scams. Only at the end, after it was revealed that it was Christine and not Freddy who was “The Jackal”, did she show her full range and become the brassy go-getter who was running the show.

Of the supporting cast, David Ehren’s performance as Andre, Lawrence’s corrupt policeman sidekick, was notable for his comic timing and disdainfully sarcastic wit, the perfect foil for the two male leads, while Rachel Glibbery played Muriel with such earnest gullibility that the she gave credibility to the sometimes preposterous goings on. Mention must also be made of understudy Gemma Alexander for the sheer energy of her performance as Jolene.

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The choreography was kept relatively simple, but was executed perfectly; one always felt that the chorus were moving together as a whole. And the set was beautifully made and very convincing, with clever use of projection, although if there is one tiny criticism, it could possibly have done with a little more differentiation between the scenes.

But of course this was a musical production, and how lovely to see a real orchestra playing live. The extra effort compared with using backing tracks was amply rewarded with a vastly enhanced atmosphere to the whole show.

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Thoroughly enjoyable.

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