Loveable rogues hit the right notes
This was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of viewing this highly entertaining musical comedy and the cast and production team at the Priory made it an immensely pleasurable experience. With music and lyrics by David Yazbek and the book by Jeffrey lane it is based on the 1988 film of the same name. Set in a casino on the French Riviera it tells the tale of conman, Lawrence Jameson, who is very adept at tricking wealthy women out of their dosh. He’s doing very well until another fraudster; Freddie Benson, invades his patch and threatens this lucrative enterprise. An attempt to work together proves unsuccessful and they have a competition to see who can be the first to fleece Christine Colgate, an affluent and attractive young American. This was certainly not a groundbreaking musical but I found it to be full of nostalgia, wit and energy and in some ways was reminiscent of the spoof musical, ‘The Producers’. We all enjoy the likeable conman (unless we are their victims!) and here we get the pleasure of two who display delightful chemistry as they try to outwit each other.
There were also very strong supporting performances representing the corrupt police chief, the English woman looking for love and the rich American who informs Lawrence by gunpoint that she is to become his wife! The ensemble managed some very slick costume changes and performed various neat dancing routines whilst providing simple but effective changes of set. The highlight to me, however, was the quality of the singing covering a variety of styles including ballads, French chanson and Oklahoma hoedown all delivered tunefully and enthusiastically. There were one or two moments of hesitation and the occasional stutter but these can probably be put down to first night nerves. Certainly the audience will feel that they had received value for money.