As Arlington Friends of the Drama’s lavish new production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” premiered on Friday, May 3, the lead scoundrel, Lawrence Jameson, played by Boston’s Nicholas Mann, and his partner-in-crime, Andre, played by North Billerica’s Craig Howard, sang “Give Them What They Want,” and that’s just what the show delivered.
For fans of comedy, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” channels the 1988 movie comedy of the same name, offering up slapstick seductions, dizzy dames, a rootin’ tootin’ Oklahoma heiress, an Austrian psychiatrist with a lunatic brother, a none-too-bright con-man-in training (Steve Martin in the movie) played by Boston’s Jeff Mitchell, and a never-ending torrent of jokes, puns, and wisecracks.
For the romantics among us, the show has a tender love song and pas de deux, “Like Zis/Like Zat,” sung and danced by Arlington’s Karen Fanale and Craig Howard (in an irresistible vaudeville French accent).
For lovers of spectacle, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” has too many costume and scene changes to count, and a terrific ensemble of dancers, including a bevy of French maids dressed as exactly as one would imagine.
For musical comedy aficionados, there are songs galore, from the hysterical—“All About Ruprecht” and “Love is My Legs”—to the sentimental “Love Sneaks In” and “Nothing Is Too Wonderful to Be True.”
As one audience member said on opening night, “The combination of talented actors, the director [Ryan Began], and members of the production team, along with the costume and makeup folk—everybody who worked on the show—made this one of the best AFD shows I’ve seen.”
Lucky for you, the show runs two more weekends through May 19. Tickets (or even better, an AFD membership) can be purchased online right here or at the box office starting 45 minutes before show time at 22 Academy Street, Arlington, MA. Or call for information at 781-646-5922.
Don’t miss it. They may be dirty rotten scoundrels, but that’s what makes them so entertaining and loveable.
Production photos by Leslie Maiocco