|After their great performances, these "Scoundrels" deserve a rest.|
And now it's at Beverly's North Shore Music Theatre, in a jazzy, snazzy production that should prove a hit, because it definitely gives the crowd what it wants - even though I began to tune out well before the last whoopee-cushion gag (although I'm speaking metaphorically; the whoopee cushion, oddly enough, never makes its appearance). I'm hardly immune to raunchy humor - but I'm not a fan of repetition; and while Scoundrels seems to just want you to let out a great big horselaugh (which you're happy to do), it then wants you to do it again, and again, and again. Indeed, its tone and attack never vary for two and half hours (the physical schtick in the second half particularly begins to drag).
But if I don't have the stamina of a horse, a lot of people do, and they were clearly enjoying the hell out of this show the night I saw it. And to be honest, in many ways Scoundrels, which some have called "Son of The Producers" is actually quite a bit better than The Producers. David Yazbeck's score and lyrics are definitely stronger: the finale's hook is actually memorable, as is "Great Big Stuff," which cleverly parodies its own stupidity - plus there's a hilarious ballad near the end that ruthlessly savages Broadway's sappy little broken heart. And every now and then, hidden in its adolescent-suburban vision of sophistication (and its knowing acknowledgment of its own bad taste) there's a nugget of genuine, if crude, wit. After all, listening to your kid brother's dirty jokes can be pretty funny.
|Jennifer Cody and Brent Barrett face off in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."|
Or from being upstaged by a bevy of talented women, either. As the socialite who's even tackier than her seducers, Jennifer Cody (above) romped off with the whole production, and Brynn O'Malley proved a bright blonde firecracker (a kind of Kristin-Chenoweth-in-waiting) as the gal who just may be beating the big boys at their own game. Even on the sidelines there was great work, from John Scherer and Lynne Wintersteller as a corrupt police captain and a sweetly clueless society dame who still carries the torch for her swindler. Director Mark Martino punched everything up, and kept all the "great big stuff" moving with appropriate zip. Because, I know, I know, sometimes you just have to give people what they want.