Review: Driftwood’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ a diabolically-clever musical comedy

Andee Albert as Christine, Jay Vilhauer as Lawrence and Gabriel Ponce as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. (Photo by Dale Sutton of Magic Photo)

Marvelous is a word I would never use in the course of ordinary conversation. I would have almost no occasion to use it under any circumstance. In fact, it’s possible that the the only time one would ever catch me using such a term would be in conjunction with musical theatre and even then, only if the play is, well, marvelous.

Driftwood Players’ current production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels IS marvelous. This 2004 musical adaptation of the 1988 hit movie ran continuously on Broadway for a couple of years and has been reprised countless times since then. I think what keeps audiences lining up to see Scoundrels is both the progression of great, cringe-worthy situational gags and a strong score.

Mostly slapstick with a touch of sophistication, mostly physical, with a hint of the intellectual — it’s the sort of production that we seem to want, and as the characters in Scoundrels can tell you, it pays to “give them what they want.”

Somewhat ribald and vulgar, this one’s not for the little ones or even for adults who take offense easily. The rest of us however, will enjoy big laughs, guffaws and possibly even a snort or two scattered evenly throughout the production.

Although the entire cast did an excellent job, the three main roles of Lawrence, Freddy and Christine — played respectively by Jay Vilhauer, Gabriel Ponce and Andee Albert — deserve special recognition.

All three are quite talented in voice and dance, and mercifully, that intangible quality often referred to as “chemistry” was also present.

Some of the lyrics were such a mouthful I was reminded of tongue twisters of the likes of Gilbert and Sullivan, and could only look on in admiration at their well-enunciated delivery.

Kudos to the stage manager Sean McKay, the choreographers Elizabeth Posluns and Carissa Meisner Smit, and music director Mark Press — all of whom played key roles in making Scoundrels a stand-out production.

Treat yourself to a diabolically clever musical comedy, but hurry — the final performance is Sunday, May 12.

For tickets and information about their “dinner and a show“ option:

— By James Spangler




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