Swindlers receive their just desserts in local performance

Ai Mitton/ UVU Review
Ai Mitton/ UVU Review

How much money would you pay to witness two self-absorbed womanizers receive a well-deserved comeuppance? This is the experience currently offered at Hale Center Theater in Orem in their stage production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” showing through April 24.

The production, which is based on the 1988 comedic film, follows the debonair Lawrence Jameson, played by Dave Tinney, and the dimwitted Freddy Benson, played by Brett Merritt, as they battle it out in a game of schemes and cunning.

The combined talents of these two performers makes for a marvelous production.

After sharing a train, the two disembark in a small town along the French Riviera and eventually realize that they are both in the professional leaching business. Thereafter small-time crook Benson begs the seasoned Jameson to instruct him in the ways of refinement and large-scale manipulation.

Featuring Dave Tinny, Brett Merritt and Hailey Smith, this local production features two swindlers who ultimately receive their just desserts. All photos by Ai Mitton
Featuring Dave Tinny, Brett Merritt and Hailey Smith, this local production features two swindlers who ultimately receive their just desserts. All photos by Ai Mitton

“Teach me, mold me, make me your slave,” Benson says.“Know your limitations Freddy, you’re a moron,” Jameson replies, although he reluctantly takes him on as a student in order to torment and therefore get rid of him.

Realizing that their styles are incompatible and that the town isn’t big enough for the both of them, they set their sights on rich heiress Christine Colgate, played by Hailey J. Smith, deciding that whoever succeeds in extracting $50,000 from her first will have the right to play the town solo.

The production was brilliant in every respect, from the acting, to the singing, to the dancing to the costumes to the overall natural chemistry, it seemed too big for the stage on which it was set. It was simultaneously intimate and theatrically engaging.

Presenting hilarious circumstances at every turn, the script was performed expertly by the obviously talented cast. Each song showcased impressive vocals while the each actor truly embodied the personality of their character.

Tinney has been involved in theater for the past 20 years as a performer, director, choreographer, writer and teacher and among other pursuits is currently teaching in the theatrical arts department at UVU.

Merritt has been acting since 1998 and has his hands in many projects including professional writing and improvisation. He co-founded the Thrillionaires Improv Theatre which performs regularly at the Covey Center for the Arts.

Smith has a BFA in acting from BYU and also co-founded the Thrillionaires Improv Theatre. She has been involved with performances such as “Little Shop of Horrors,” “As You Like It,” “Little Women” and many more._DSC0274-copyweb

The production was perfectly cast and excellently performed. Whether you are a theater enthusiast or not don’t miss the opportunity to see this brilliant performance.

Based on the popular 1988 film, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS centers on two con men living on the French Riviera. The first is the suave and sophisticated Lawrence Jameson. The other is Freddy Benson, a bumbling small time crook. After meeting on a train, they find that the small, French town where they disembark isn’t big enough for the two of them. They make a deal: the first one to extract $50,000 from a young and beautiful heiress, Christine Colgate, wins and the other must leave. A hilarious battle of cons ensues that will keep audiences laughing, humming and guessing to the end!

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