Michael Butler chats with Williamstown’s Scoundrels.

Every year a small and very select number of shows are produced that generate huge hype. When I think back over the year that has been I can recall only a handful of shows produced that have had almost everyone talking.

This week Williamstown Musical Theatre Company will open what is the last big hype show of the year…Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. So why is our theatre community a buzz about the show?

It’s simple…

You take a company that has been producing productions of an extremely high quality over the last few years and add to it an all-star cast and production team in a show that was nominated for an amazing 11 Tony awards.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

To find out more on the above mentioned ‘hype’ I had the pleasure of asking director Ang Cuy and cast members Angelo De Cata, Amy Larsen and Nick Kong their thought on everything dirty and rotten.

So what is it that is bound to make WMTC’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels so special?

‘The show is a cracker’ says Ang. ‘It’s just such good comic material, combined with some of the best and most varied musical numbers you’ll find in one show. On the surface, DRS seems like quite a beautiful classic musical, but the dialogue and especially the lyrics are so subversive at times that it’s just hysterical.

Ang is fortunate to have at her disposal an exceptionally strong and well known cast who have all returned to WMTC after last year’s success on Assassins.

‘We all worked together last year on Assassins here at WMTC and had a ball’ say Angelo. ‘It is probably better this time around in the sense that we get to do more stuff on stage with one another. I love my scenes with Nicko. He is hilarious as Freddy and we have a great rapport with one another. He is wonderful to act with. As for Amy, she is fantastic too. I get to relate to her completely differently in the show not to mention a lovely pash!!!!’

On pashing Amy, Nick has a slightly different view point.

‘I get to get my pash on with Ames too…. not sure if i would call it lovely but it’s always different pashing her when I am sober! I have known Ames for ages, her dad taught my sister at school, our mums see each other at Traralgon Coles all the time and we did our first show together. She is the bomb. And as for Angelo well, he is ok I spose…if you like talented, funny, extremely good looking people…whatever.’ ‘For some reason we keep being cast as love interests’ notes Amy. ‘So we are getting pretty familiar and I must say, good at onstage pashing’

Pashing aside it seems as if Ang couldn’t be happy with the cast that she is putting on stage.

‘I still pinch myself when I look at that cast list – I can’t believe all these amazing people agreed to work with us! What were they thinking? I know every director says this, but it has genuinely been an absolute treat. Not only is our leading cast made up of some of the most well-known and talented performers on the Melbourne scene at the moment – we truly have an ensemble of performers that are each leading players in their own right. There’s just not a weak link. I’ve also been incredibly spoiled by having a cast of smart performers, who know how to handle themselves on stage; they understand timing and nuance – you can’t underestimate that.’

Let’s pause for a moment now so that Ang can take a moment to embarrass Nick…

‘A recent highlight at rehearsal for me was the first rehearsal that (Angelo’s “other” character) Dr Schuffhausen’s riding crop came out for the first time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nick look so petrified, and I know I should have probably been far more concerned but it was just so damn funny…’

Getting back on track… it is really pleasing to still find (in an age where company loyalty means very little) companies that cast members just can’t keep away from. Nick, Amy and Angelo seem only too happy to rave about what it is that they continue to return to WMTC.

‘They are efficient, organized and above all extremely welcoming. Sometimes I find companies either concentrate too hard on organization and don’t care for the cast and vice versa’ states Nick. Angelo jumps in to mention how much he loves the company’s energy. ‘It is very friendly and welcoming and extremely well organized.’
‘One of the aspects I love about the company is their ability to balance professionalism with fun’ says Amy. They are such a warm and welcoming company and although they know how to have a good time, they still manage to put on very polished and professional productions. This is what keeps people coming back to audition for their shows and why they have such a strong community support base that keep coming back to see all their productions.

So in a show that has potentially got it all what is the director really getting excited about?

‘We really were able put together a dream team for this production; from our MD Nattie and Choregrapher Carla, to Chris on sets, Sarah on costumes and Jason and Marcello on lighting and sound, what more could you want? And when you add the cast to that mix? I got my dream cast for this production, and once audiences see it, I think they’ll find it difficult to picture anyone else in the roles. I believe the set will also be very different to what people would expect – it’s not the minimal staging with white set pieces that many would be familiar with from other productions – Chris White has out-done himself yet again. And did I mention the band? Can I rave a bit more? I have no idea how Nattie convinced a group of musicians that brilliant to come and play for a show in Williamstown, but I’m not going to complain!’

It would be remiss of me not to wrap this article up asking the cast what they think makes them ‘dirty rotten scoundrels’. For those of you who know these three individuals you may think they are being pretty easy on themselves… I’ll leave you to decide.

Angelo: If I revealed that I would be letting all the secrets out of the bag. I do possess dirty rotten traits but they for me to know!

Nick: Look at Angelo not telling what his habits are! A lady never discloses her flaws, otherwise how would she get a gentleman caller?
I myself have no flaws. I am walking perfection. Unless i am drunk… then I become obnoxious and demanding of everyone’s attention.

Amy: I have been told that I can be guilty at times of using my abundant charm (cough, cough, cough from the writer) to get what I want, so if you are at the bar after the show buying a round of drinks and I appear beside you asking things like “have you lost weight” or “Have you done something with your hair?” chances are you are witnessing my dirty rotten charm.





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