‘Scoundrels’ live up to their names in Driftwood comedy

By Jesse Blair | Apr 25, 2018
Photo by: Dale Sutton Lawrence (Jay Vilhauer) and Freddy (Gabriel Ponce) have a discussion in Driftwood Players’ “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Edmonds Driftwood Players’ “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is a funny, lively and jazzy musical treat. Songs are cleverly written, music well played under the musical direction of Mark Press, and the dance pieces made the show come alive even more.

The story follows two swindling, well, scoundrels – Freddy and Lawrence (Gabriel Ponce and Jay Vilhauer). Lawrence makes a lavish living scamming unassuming women out of their wealth. The less experienced Freddy is more of a nickel and dimer.

The two meet on a train in France and realize they both play the same dirty game. After the younger Freddy learns he is a match for his older and more experienced scoundrel, they agree that the first person who can scam the heiress Christine out of $50,000 can stay in this small French town. The other must leave.

This leads to a series of outlandish plot twists, hilarious antics and unforeseen consequences as the pair of cons realize they aren’t the only ones who can play this dirty rotten game.

Katie Gary, following her previously funny Driftwood role as Madame Bouche in last year’s “Beauty and the Beast,” once again brings the laughs.  As the Oklahoma oil heiress Jolene, she proves too much to handle for the experienced heister Lawrence, first informing him of their upcoming marriage and then forcing him to dance at gunpoint.

She even fires a few rounds off at his feet to get him off his backside, then rests the gun on his shoulder as they dance around the room. To get rid of her, Freddy pretends he is Lawrence’s crazy if not animalistic brother Ruprecht, doing things only dogs do when they are excited in the crudely hilarious number “All About Ruprecht.”

Andee Albert is both lively and dramatic as the central female character Christine, as she is both charmed and conned by Freddy and Lawrence. Her vocal performances are equally impressive and dynamic in her musical numbers, including “Here I Am,” “Ruffhousin’ Mit Shuffhausen” and “Love Is My Legs.”

Lawrence and Freddy steal the show. Lawrence is the suave and smooth highfalutin con artist who seems able to get women to fall for him almost instantly. Freddy, though, blunders around and says dumb things. But he was also clever in his own clumsy way.

The duo’s comedic exploits, in trying to outdo one another, are the strongest part of the story.

In one scene, Lawrence is disguised as a psychiatrist to treat the supposed paralyzed Freddy. He takes several whacks at Freddy’s legs with a cane and asks each time if he feels anything. Freddy, fighting back tears so he won’t ruin his ruse, sheepishly says he feels nothing.

Dan Posluns directs the show seamlessly, from the opening announcements until the closing curtain. Rarely was the orchestra not performing, even as scenes changed between people meeting on a train to an ensemble dance performance with the entire cast.

With a good running time of two hours, numerous musical numbers and hilarious storyline, audiences will not be disappointed with this production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Where: Wade James Theatre, 950 Main St., Edmonds
When: Through May 12. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual references.
Tickets: $25-$28
Information: 425-774-9600, edmondsdriftwoodplayers.com
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