No two despicable characters have ever been more fun to watch than the pair of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in the musical comedy at La Comedia. With great ease the skilled con artists steal a bundle of laughs from the audience.

Based on the 1988 film starring Steve Martin and Michael Cain, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the tale of Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, who scam unsuspecting females of their riches in the French Riviera. One is as slimy as the other, visions of only dollar signs dancing in their heads.

Soon it becomes apparent that the town isn’t big enough for the both of them. So the central plot revolves around them trying to be first to get $50,000 from the next possible victim. The winner stays, while the loser must leave town. The apparent casualty, who they attempt to clean out is Christine Colgate, the American Soap Queen.

In his La Comedia stage debut, Bill Saunders provides Lawrence with the perfect pompous, arrogant attitude that makes him fun to hate. He seduces women with his refined, yet delusional, charm, only to gain their riches. By taking from others, Lawrence has made for himself an elegant mansion.

With the same goal, but a different style is Freddy, played by Seth Grugle. It’s also his first show at La Comedia. From America, Freddy carries himself with less class, but his seemingly care free attitude is endearing. He yearns to reach the same level of success as Lawrence.

A rose between the two thorns is the Soap Queen, played by Leslie Jo Bissett. Her sweet smile and generous spirit provides the appearance of a woman full of riches, perhaps not monetarily.
The show accelerates in drama and laughs, as Benson poses as a heart-broken soldier, paralyzed from the waist down, in need of $50,000 worth of treatment from Dr. Shauffhausen.

The plan is totally going in Freddy’s favor, until the Doctor appears, being imitated by Lawrence. Enough hilarity ensues that treatment may be needed to cure side splitting laughter.
The contest takes several twists and turns, as the Scoundrels realize their match may have been met.

A comedic highpoint comes when Lawrence has Freddy pose as his mentally challenged brother, Ruprecht, to fend off the wedding plans of Jolene Oakes. Ruprecht would be enough to send anyone off running, as he displays a variety of gross out behaviors and shows a strong attraction to Jolene. The appearance of Ruprecht is brief, but memorable.

As Jolene, Elaine Hayhurst is only one example of the shows strong supporting cast. Every villain must have a sidekick, and for Lawrence its Andre Thibault (Craig Michael Boccia). Andre makes some sparks and laughs with Muriel Eubanks (Aretta Baumgartner).

Many of the best one liners comes in the lyrics of the music, there probably isn’t a song that will stick in your head, but a laugh that will. The types of music varies from hip-hop to country, all sung with vibrant voices that will each touch your heart or tickle your funny bone.

Attending Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is guaranteed safety, you won’t be robbed of a good time but treated to an enjoyable experience along the French Riviera. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will run through October 31. Evening performances Wednesday – Sunday (arrival time 5:30-6:00 p.m.) and matinees Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday (arrival time 10:30-11:00 a.m.). Reservations may be made my phone at (937) 746-4554 or 1-800-677-9505. More information can be found at www.lacomedia.com.

Seth Grugle (Freddy), Leslie Jo Bissett (Christine), and Bill Saunders (Lawrence).