If you take CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, SPAMALOT, EDWIN DROOD and a few GILBERT AND SULLIVAN musicals and mash them all up, you may just come up with A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER. Although I am a fan of all of those, when jammed all in one, it doesn’t bode well with me. A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER is a tale that takes place in London in 1909. Monty Navarro’s mother has recently died and he finds out he is in line to be the Earl of Highhurst behind eight members of the D’Ysquith family. His mission is to secure his noble position and he will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
We open with Bryce Pinkham who plays Monty. He seems sweet and charming but is devilish and deceptive at his core. Bryce has a forgettable voice and is swallowed up by Jefferson Mays who plays a slew of parts; eight in total. Jefferson is truly a gifted actor and somewhat reminded me of Jim Carey in “Lemony Snicket’s” which is a feat. Between the two actors I’ve never seen so much spit being spewed on the first few rows of audience members. I’m surprised they didn’t have a “splash zone” like Seaworld. I digress, the two female leads were astounding. Sibella Hallward played by Lisa O’Hare was a conniving, yet ditsy blonde who wanted Monty to herself even though she was married. Since he had no money, she didn’t dare marry for love- and then things changed. Phoebe D’ Ysquith played by Lauren Worsham was my favorite. Her soprano was eloquent and clear. She commanded the stage with utter control and poise.
The set was old English style; fanciful and lush. There was a ruffled red curtain set up on a mock stage where many scenes were played out. At other times, the curtain was drawn and actors performed in front or to the sides of the stage. Sitting somewhat close to the stage, I was able to hear set pieces being moved and the curtain rustling, which was distracting.
Although some are calling the show “hilarious” I beg to differ. It was silly but I found the repetitive humor got stale and boring after a while. It was the Jefferson Mays show and although he is incredibly talented, this wasn’t supposed to be a one man “get your kicks here folks!” play unless I’m missing something. If you have seen the show please let me know your thoughts. For more information check out: http://www.agentlemansguidebroadway.com/index.php
Rating: That Is The Question