The con is on as CCADS bring these scoundrels to the Kings

The cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Lauren Kempton centre,  at The Queens Hotel, Southsea.  Picture by Tony Neal
The cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Lauren Kempton centre, at The Queens Hotel, Southsea. Picture by Tony Neal
Mark My Words, by Bench Theatre in rehearsal

REVIEW: Mark My Words at The Spring Arts Centre, Havant

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Who’s conning who? And what exactly is the hustle?

Prepare to be bamboozled as CCADS bring the musical adaptation of the smash comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Portsmouth for the first time.

Set on the French Riviera, the 1988 film saw Michael Caine’s suave conman go toe-to-toe with Steve Martin’s rather less refined hustler as they compete to trick a mark, Glenne Headly, out of $50,000.

The musical version opened in San Diego in 2004 before transferring to Broadway a year later. It made its West End debut in 2014.

Lauren Kempton is playing ‘The American Soap Queen’ Christine Colgate, who the pair of scamsters, played here by John-Paul McCrohon and Pete Westmorland, are looking to hoodwink.

She says: ‘I’d seen the film a long time ago and I purposely didn’t rewatch it so I could give my own spin on the character and make it my own. I never like to watch the film until I’ve established what I’m doing character-wise, but I watched it a couple of weeks ago and it was hilarious.

It’s almost like playing the character behind the one that everyone sees as well, and thinking what she’s thinking

Lauren Kempton

‘You find with a lot of musicals, they adapt it, but it’s actually really similar to the film. The only difference is obviously that there are songs in it, even the dialogue is very similar, it does stay true to the film but with that musical spin on it.’

Without wanting to give too much of the plot away, the role has proved challenging for Lauren.

‘It’s almost like playing the character behind the one that everyone sees as well, and thinking what she’s thinking. It sounds so cliched, but that old question of what’s my motivation is so appropriate here.’

And she’s been relishing the chance to watch her co-stars in action.

‘I’m not really in act one, that’s mostly the two guys. John-Paul I’ve worked with a lot with as director and in shows but never really played opposite him before and that’s been a real pleasure, he’s great to bounce things off.

‘And Pete, when I joined South Downe Musical Society he was the first person to say “hello” to me, but we’ve never been on stage together. I feel like I’ve come full circle as he was the first person I met when I got into amateur dramatics 10 years ago.’

They also had fun shooting the promotional pictures for the show at The Queen’s Hotel in Southsea. ‘It was lovely to be in the setting of what I imagine for the musical – this fantastic posh hotel. They were so welcoming, they let us have free rein in the hotel and the guests found it quite amusing.’

The Kings Theatre, Southsea

March 16-18

kingsportsmouth.co.uk