This show really hits the mark!
Based on the book by Jeffrey Lane and with music and lyrics by David Yazbek, this sparkling musical comedy is based on the well-known and loved movie of 1988, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. In brief, Lawrence Jameson (Joe Bromfield) is a suave English con artist posing as the deposed Prince of a fictional country. He targets rich ladies who are all too happy to finance his undercover missions in order to regain his throne. Small-time crook Freddy Benson (Dan Robb), swindles women by stirring their compassion with stories about his Grandmother's ill health. Freddie is befriended by Lawrence, who is all too happy to offer him insights into the mysteries of women, how to woo them and depart with the readies. Local hangdog police chief, Andre Thibault (Elliot Bishton) is also fully conversant in dipping into the delights of the wealthy, unattached female and the comedy twists and turns with hilarious consequences.
As part of Freddy's training, he observes the Prince's wooing of Oklahoma oil heiress, Jolene Oakes (Chloe Lang). Unfortunately, Jolene is more trouble than Lawrence has bargained for as she starts planning their wedding. In an attempt to throw Jolene off, Lawrence enlists Freddy's help and introduces her to his 'younger brother', Prince Ruprecht, who creates enough havoc to get Jolene running for the next plane home. Freddy quickly becomes proficiently slick enough a swindler to compete directly with Lawrence so Lawrence decides to set a challenge to get rid of Freddy - the first man to make fifty thousand dollars stays, the loser leaves town. Determined to outwit each other, the fraudsters make a bee-line for the new Soap Queen in town, Christine Colgate (Stephanie Leeson).
This show by Mellow Dramatics , directed by Tom Brassington, really hits the mark. Much of this show's success depends on the relationship between the two lead men and there is certainly great on-stage chemistry between Joe and Dan. Bromfield is charismatic and perfect for the role. He combines sophistication and wit with just a hint of naughtiness whereas Robb manages to be boyish, outlandish and endearing. Robb, for me, was the man of the stage - hilarious facial expressions, great comedy timing and just enough crazy for the character of Ruprecht, which must be one of the funniest scenes in the show. Becky Winfield plays Muriel Eubanks with passion, bubbly excitement and a great understanding of Lawrence's situations treating us to a great rendition of What Was A Woman To Do.
Stephanie Leeson plays the sweet and unassuming Christine Colgate confidently and faultlessly with her lovely singing voice and turn of character as the story unfolds. Excellent performance of Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True by Dan and Stephanie and a heart warming Like Zis/Like Zat by Elliot (who is no Prance) and Becky. Chloe Lang played a fabulous Jolene and performed a really entertaining Oaklahoma backed up by a full set of colourful, dancing cowboys. The show was supported by an excellent ensemble of actors, dancers and singers who were clearly enjoying every moment.
The nicely designed and personality-lead choreography by Andrea Osborne was well suited to the varying abilities of the cast and the on-stage 12-piece orchestra was competently conducted by Musical Director, Sara Kimber. The striking set received a good lighting scheme and the crew were very well orchestrated with quick, transitional set and prop changes. Nicely costumed this strong team effort resulted in a lovely warm, well performed, slick production that the group must be proud of.
Very funny, get a ticket.
I admit I did check my pockets on the way out!
Runs to 19 May, suitable for everyone
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