Chichester's CAOS hit the stage for first time in nearly two and a half years

Remarkably Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – The Musical is going to be the first full-scale show from Chichester’s CAOS Musical Productions in nearly two and a half years.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 7:05 am
Ryan Moss pic by Dan Farmiloe

They take to the stage with the show at Westbourne House School from Oct 27-30 (tickets through – their first big show since Half A Sixpence at Bognor’s Regis Centre in June 2019.

Ryan Moss, who will be playing the part of Freddie in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, said: “Half A Sixpence was incredible. We won an award for it from NODA and it was a brilliant week. It was really wonderful.

“Last year in June we were meant to be doing Calamity Jane and then in October last year we were meant to be doing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

“We had already cast Calamity Jane and rehearsals had already started when the pandemic happened.

“The society as a whole decided to cut our loses with Calamity Jane a bit and put it back to a later date. It is not on our calendar for 2022, but it is something that we would hope to revisit.

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was always on our list, but it was one that we had not started.”

Fortunately the rights company for the show extended the permission, and CAOS was able to start from scratch, albeit comparatively late in the day for amateur dramatics: “We cast it at the end of June.

“I am playing one of the two leading men in the show, Freddie, the Steve Martin character in the film.”

Freddie and Lawrence (the Michael Caine role in the film) are competing conmen in the south of France…

“The last time I saw the film must have been when I was 14 or 15, and I haven’t revisited it since so I don’t have a very strong memory of it which is good.

“But the way I see it is that Freddie has got to be the polar opposite of the Michael Caine character Lawrence who is very upper class and more refined.

“Freddie is American. I see him as a New Yorker. He is very sloppy. He is very outlandish.

“I am really happy to be cast in that part because he has some of the best lines in the show.

“With Freddie, I don’t like to use the word common, but he is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy.

“He has seen the world. He is a bit of a teddy hear. He is loud and brash and outlandish but aside from the cons, he would not hurt a fly.

“He still preys on the little old ladies with stories about his grandmother being very ill, but his cons are just for $20 for his next meal.

“Lawrence’s cons are for thousands and thousands of dollars.

“There is a lot of innocence about Freddie and then he meets Lawrence and it opens his eyes.

“And it is such a lovely dynamic with Lawrence. You have Lawrence as more the straight man which gives Freddie so much room to exacerbate any situation that he happens to be in.

“It just gives you so much room to play.

“There are not a huge amount of parts that give you quite so much room.”

As for the return to the theatres, Ryan is confident. CAOS have appointed two welfare officers for the company, of which he is one: they are people anyone can go to in rehearsals if they have any concerns about the Covid situation.

“And I do think the theatre itself, with all the current precautions, is a safe place.

“There are so many environments that are out there open freely that have a far higher possibility of transmission than theatres.

“If there is a worsening of the situation, I do think pubs and night clubs should be closed a lot sooner than theatres should be.

“We are being very careful in rehearsals, and we will be taking all the precautions in the theatre to make sure everyone is completely safe.”