Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - January 28, 2011

Onstage fun with 'Scoundrels'

Tri-Valley Rep takes us to the French Riviera

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Two con men vie for the "rights" to clean out the tourists on the French Riviera in the hilarious, fast-moving musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" being presented by the Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre through Feb. 6. The play is based on the 1998 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.

A French-accented woman's voice welcomes everyone, then the music and the action begin and don't let up for a couple of hours. Dan Kapler as the dapper Lawrence explains to his French assistant/policeman Andre (Joseph Brunicardi) the secret to his success with heiresses and widows with his philosophy: "Where there's a will, there's a way."

When the fast-talking but seriously unsophisticated American Freddy (Robert Lopez) arrives, Lawrence doesn't see him as a threat until he does him a favor by posing as his challenging brother to scare away Lawrence's fiancee Jolene (Christi Wallace) from Oklahoma. This outrageous scene provides some raunchy dialogue and actions, very funny but definitely for adults. The two men then agree to match wits in a wager over the fortunes of a naive American soap heiress, with the winner getting not just the heiress but the rights to the other tourists as well.

The "heiress" Christine Colgate (Anne Milbourne) enters the scene, and the race is on to separate her from $50,000. The plot twists and turns enjoyably to a surprise ending -- and then another one. The action includes a dalliance between Andre and a former Lawrence conquest (Amy Lucido). A 13-piece orchestra, directed by Jo Anne Fosselman, accompanies the lively singing and dancing and keeps the audience tapping its toes along with the laughter.

Lawrence is appropriately suave as he interacts with the ladies, but it's rubber-limbed Freddy who gets the heartiest laughs as, Jim Carrey-like, he exaggerates his role, being in turn loveable and appalling. The characters all play off each other wonderfully under the direction of John Maio, with vocal director Sierra Dee and choreographer Kevin Hammond.

Naughty but nice

What: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Who: Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre

When: 8 p.m. Fridays/Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 21-Feb. 6

Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore

Tickets: 373-6800

Other: Contains adult language and adult situations.

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