“Would you like a sneak preview of a show coming to Manchester for its UK Premiere?”
“How about an interview with its two leading men?”
“And do you fancy meeting the show’s Tony Award-winning Director and Choreographer?”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Well, that was in short what happened when I was asked to take a trip to that big London town to sit in on rehearsals for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the musical starring Robert Lindsay (My Family) and Rufus Hound (Celebrity Juice).
Heading ‘dawn sarf’, I flew the flag for Manchester’s Finest and joined a group of ‘jazz hands’ journalists all eager to get their first glimpse of this exciting new production. After all, the film was a massive hit when it came to our cinema screens in 1988 with comic genius Steve Martin and (my name is) Michael Caine. For those of you who were just twinkles in their parents eyes back them let me shed some light on the storyline…A pair of conmen, (Caine and Martin), meet in the French Rivera and try to out do each other with their talents, making a bet over who can win the heart and more importantly the money of a young heiress.
Synopsis over…back to London and the rehearsal room in Vauxhall, a small estate where you wouldn’t dream a West End musical was taking shape.
It was like stepping into an episode of Smash as we took our seats to watch a flurry of activity unfold, from black leotard-clad dancers warming up to animated actors and crew greeting each other. Multi Tony Award-winner (Kinky Boots) Jerry Mitchell won over our hearts with his personal greeting to everyone in the room and gave a passionate welcome revealing he had always wanted to work with Lindsay since seeing him perform with Emma Thompson in Me and My Girl (1984) and now his dream had come true.
It’s Mitchell’s insightful casting of Lindsay that looks like it’s set to make this show a huge success. It may be 16 years since he’s performed in musical theatre but Lindsay’s takes to the Caine role like a duck to water and oozes panache and professionalism in his solo ‘Give Them What They Want’.
We were also lucky enough to witness Rufus Hound step out of his comfort zone and sing for the first time. ‘Great Big Stuff’ is the perfect vehicle for showing off Hound’s comedic talent and, although he’s not yet up to Lindsay’s vocal standards, by opening night he’s sure to deliver it with gusto and have the audience in stitches.
I got the chance to chat to the latest ‘double act on the block ‘ Rufus and Robert to find out a little bit more about what we could expect.
The show opens at Manchester’s Opera House on 12th February and runs till 22nd February. Make sure you grab a ticket now so you can say you were one of the first to see it before it opens at the West End’s Savoy Theatre in March!