The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland present a musical farce based on the hit 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It’s the story of big-time conman Lawrence Jamieson (Derek Dishington) and small-time crook Freddy Benson (Jacob Bedford), who meet in the French Riviera while scamming rich women. On realising the town isn’t big enough for them both to be running cons, the pair agree on a competition – to trick an heiress out of $50,000. The winner gets to stay in town and continue to swindle, the other must leave in shame.
The duo choose naive and bumbling American “Soap Queen” Christine Colgate (Fiona Sherlock), who has just arrived in the area. The nature of how each tries to get the $50,000 from Colgate changes over time, with each needing to play off the other’s con. As the plot thickens it’s the audience who must work out who’s conning who, with a twist in the tale for anyone unfamiliar with the source material.
The show may be performed by students of the Royal Conservatoire’s MA Programme, but this is not a low-rent Edinburgh Fringe production. Everything from the set decoration, to the music, to the quality of the acting is excellent – on a par with anything you would pay £50 to see on the London stage. A mixture of slapstick comedy and catchy songs keeps the story speeding along and sometimes there’s barely time to catch one joke before the next punchline hits. The two and a half hour show flies by and is an enjoyable spectacle from start to finish. It is a chance to see some rising stars of theatre before they hit the big time.