Loveable rogues will be treading the boards in Sunderland next month as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels hits the road. Katy Wheeler speaks to one of the stars, Mark Benton.
Wearside will be whisked to the French Riviera for a musical of comedy capers.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the 1988 hit film of the same name starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, is set against the decadent world of sophisticated conman Lawrence Jameson which comes crashing down with the arrival of larger-than-life Freddy Benson – a conman of an entirely different order.
Soon realising the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, the two find themselves going head-to-head in the con of their lives, pulling out all of the stops in a bid for the affections of millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate.
The touring version of the show, which ran in the West End for a year, stars TV actor Michael Praed as Lawrence, former Hear’say singer and actor Noel Sullivan as Freddy, Carley Stenson from Hollyoaks as Christine and Mark Benton as Andre.
Mark has had a high-profile TV career with roles in Waterloo Road, Doctor Who, Northern Lights, Hustle, as well as appearing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.
“I was doing the Strictly tour, when this role was first mentioned,” explained Mark, who plays Andre. “I didn’t go to see it in the West End and I’m glad I didn’t now, as you unconsciously pick things up.”
Mark is no stranger to touring after appearing in the UK tour of Hairspray and he says that when the chance came up again to be in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, he jumped at it.
“What I love about it is the story. Often with musicals you’re bored and sat there waiting for the songs, but the scenes in this show are as good as the music.
“It’s a great story, people love the twists and turns, it’s great fun. The audiences so far have been loving it and it’s a great, fun cast. It just so happened I was free, so when the offer came back around out of the blue, I said yes.
“I love theatre and I really got the bug for musicals after playing Edna in Hairspray. This is a good one to follow that as it’s so feel-good.”
Speaking about his favourite roles over the years, he said: “I’ve been really blessed, there’s so many I’ve enjoyed. I had a great time with Robson (Green) in Northern Lights and Catterick with Vic and Bob.
“I really enjoy the variation of being able to do TV, then reality shows, then quiz shows. It keeps it interesting. And it’s nice that people accept you doing different stuff.”
•Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is at Sunderland Empire from June 9-20. For tickets visit the box office, Tel 0844 871 3022 or visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire.
•We’ve teamed up with Sunderland Empire to give away a truly indulgent night at the Sunderland Empire this June. One lucky reader will win a pair of tickets to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and entry to the exquisite Ambassador Lounge on June 9.
T&C: A pair of tickets for the 7.30pm performance on Tuesday 9th June 2015, at Sunderland Empire. Tickets are not transferable and no monetary value will be given. The prize also includes Red Label Passes to the lounge for two on the same evening (including welcome drink, nibbles, entry to the lounge and complimentary cloakroom).
To be in with a chance of winning answer this question: who starred in the film version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?
A) Steve Martin
B) Steve McDonald
C) Steve McQueen
Email your answer and contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk. Closing date: May 28.