A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder Review - A Set of Rollicking "How-to" Pointers

The most celebrated musical of the 2013-14 Broadway scene, A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER gives the audience handy pointers about both love and murder - all set to music. With a pedigree like that, it’s no wonder that the play received four 2014 Tony awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Costume Design. A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is based on the novel by Roy Horniman with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. This musical is a tour-de-force.

Kristen Beth Williams as Sibella Hallward, Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro, and Adrienne Eller as Phoebe Dysquith - Photo by Joan Marcus

 

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER tells the hysterical tale of Monty Navarro, raised in near poverty, who finds out after his mother’s death that he is a distant heir to a family fortune and the title of earl. It seems that his mother was disinherited when she married for love and became a washerwoman in London to support the two after Monty’s father died.

 

Kevin Massey and Mary VanArsdel as Miss Shingle - Photo by Joan Marcus

Monty’s chances of coming into any of the perks associated with his family lineage are dim and fade to almost nothing when the Dysquith family refuses to even acknowledge his existence. On top of that, he’s eighth in line for the title and money and has absolutely no future prospects without that connection. What to do? How to jump up the line of succession? Meanwhile, Monty (Kevin Massey) must juggle his beautiful gold-digging mistress Sibella (Kristen Beth Williams) and his fiancee Phoebe (Adrienne Eller), who also happens to be his cousin - but who’s paying attention to that small detail. And all the while he’s trying to avoid landing behind bars. Last but not least are the key members of the family Dysquith - all played by talented John Rapson, regardless of gender or size. Rapson deserved the standing ovation he received at the end of the play. Director Darko Tresnjak manages to keep this complex musical right on point - with the action never slowing but ample time for humor and great timing.

 

Lesley McKinnell as Miss Barley, Kevin Massey, and John Rapson as Asquith Dysquith - Photo by Joan Marcus

Alexander Dodge’s set design is magnificent, a stage within a stage mimicking vaudeville of the early 20th century. Linda Cho’s costumes (with the able assistance of Charles G. LaPointe’s hair and wig design and Brian Strumwasser’s make-up design) are brilliant - and clearly worthy of the Tony received in 2014. Aaron Rhyne’s projection design is also striking. Just wait until you see a pack of bees chasing an unfortunate Henry Dysquith - or the Reverend Lord Ezekial Dysquith’s tumble from a church spire. Philip S. Rosenberg’s lighting and Dan Moses Schreier’s sound fit right in. All in all, the production team does a great job of making this a must-see musical.

Cast of National Touring Company - Photo by Joan Marcus

 When A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER opened on Broadway, critics raved with enthusiasm and excitement. The National Tour does a bang-up job which easily equals the Broadway production. Besides, Kevin Massey, playing the lead Monty, repeats his original Broadway role in Los Angeles. The play may be a trifle long – but the audience is having so much fun that they probably don’t even notice.

 

 A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER runs through May 1, 2016 with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. The Ahmanson Theatre is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tickets prices start at $25. For reservations, call 213-972-4400 or go online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.

Top of Page

lasplash.com
Join Splash Magazines

Feature Article

Tempflow™ and Tempur-Pedic® Reviews - What 35 Hours of Research Uncovered

Want Your Business to Male a Splash
<!-- #wrapper -->