UNDER grey winter’s skies, the sunny and oh-so funny new musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels put a spring in the step of a packed Opera House audience.

The latest “Manchester Gets It First” production whisks you away to an art deco-inspired French Riviera, where princes, playboy police chiefs, heiresses and petrol princesses abound.

Blue skies and palm trees set the delightful scene, while dancing couples open the show with an overture reminiscent of the grand days of the MGM musical.

But put all thoughts of the old-fashioned out of mind as this is a thoroughly modern musical. As has been popular in recent years, think Ghost and Legally Blonde, this is a take on the hit 1980s film starring Martin Caine and Steve Martin as the conmen.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, who staged Legally Blonde - and the tongue in cheek humour as well as seamless action is beautifully timed throughout.

Robert Lindsay as Lawrence Jameson is a smooth operator, effortlessly switching accent and tack, while funnyman Rufus Hound makes his perfect opposite - and is probably the surprise of the night. I’m not sure there are many people who can turn red quite so impressively on cue!

Throw in Katherine Kingsley as soap queen Catherine Colgate - with legs to die (or perhaps ‘love’) for, never mind her fabulous voice and timing - and you have a phenomenal force leading the production in this trio.

The chemistry between the perfectly cast principals really makes this a belter of a show; glamourous Samantha Bond and suavely handsome John Marquez as the mis-matched lovers give a pace-changing break from the con antics. And Lizzy Connolly gave a showstopping cameo as Jolene Oakes.

Witty dialogue doesn’t often transfer into musical numbers, but some of my favourite lines and moments came during the songs, and by the middle of the second act, Love Is The Legs sent tears streaming down my face. Chimp In A Suit and All About Ruprecht were also comic, musical highlights.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the best new musical I have seen in years - with everything you could wish for and more. Whether you’re a fan of the film or, like me, have never seen it, you will be spoilt rotten with theatrical joy.