By: Paul Lewkowicz and Alison Silveira
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is a Tony award-winning musical that tells the story of Montague “Monty” Navarro. A poor Englishman, Monty discovers that he was disowned by his wealthy royal family, the D’Ysquiths and is ninth in line to become the Earl of Highhurst. The comedy, which is loosely based on a 1907 novel by Roy Horniman, uses slightly dark humour to provide for an entertaining show as we follow Monty on his adventures to gain recognition from the D’Ysquith family and get closer to attaining the position of Earl.
Monty goes on a tour of the D’Ysquith estate and begins to befriend each successor to the Earl, leading to him to gain the acceptance of the family. However, his sinister motives bring about tragic consequences in a wickedly humorous fashion. Monty is the unlikeliest of murderers and is after all, the protagonist in the story whom we cannot help but root for. Kevin Massey plays the leading role with earnestness and honesty. He brings charm and wit to his calculated, yet spontaneous plan to get closer to the title of Earl by eliminating his family members.
Monty's mistress, Sibella is a self-interested woman who loves Monty, but marries another man for his wealth. Kristen Beth Williams plays a seductive woman we love to hate with brash confidence. Her over-the-top facial expressions and stinging one-liners make us giddy with laughter. Monty's cousin, Phoebe falls madly in love with him, which is all part of his big plan to become Earl. Adrienne Eller plays the prim and proper Phoebe with grace and elegance. Her soaring soprano voice is enchanting, delicate and matches perfectly with Williams' in many of their scintillating duets. Their stunning voices blend in perfect harmony.
John Rapson is absolutely brilliant in all of the multiple roles he plays. Rapson switches from one character to the next with ease and does an incredible and hilarious job of portraying various female members of the royal family. He stole the show with his bravado and comedic timing.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is full of hilarious situations, great duets, and dancing and an engaging story throughout. The show concludes with a surprising and ironic ending. There's plenty of scheming and duping one another to get rich quick in this extraordinarily farcical musical comedy that's a rip-roaring good time!
Photos by Joan Marcus.
Paul Lewkowicz is a fan of politics, the arts, travel and tennis. He lives in Toronto.
Alison Silveira is the founder and editor of The Charming Modernist, a lifestyle blog for curious minds. She also writes for The Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide and This Beautiful Day Blog. Follow her on Twitter @AlisonSilveira and Instagram TheCharmingModernist.