Friday, July 15, 2016

Exquisite “Gentleman” will murder your funny bone

Kristen Beth Williams and Kevin Massey in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (Joan Marcus)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
The 5th Avenue Theater
Through July 31, 2016

The Tony Award winning best musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, just opened at The 5th Avenue Theater with the national tour. If you’ve been wondering why it got such smashing reviews on Broadway, what earned it a Tony, well, it is absolutely a barrel of fun and well worth checking out.

It’s got the new-fangled device of having one actor play all the people who get killed. Possibly a good budget support, but the one actor has got to be on his game. John Rapson is absolutely up to the daunting task, though some of his costume changes must be magic. His turn for clowning is an opportunity to study a master. His timing is perfect.

Wait, what? One guy gets killed 9 times? Starting over: Montague Navarro (Kevin Massey) has just lost his mother and an old friend arrives who helps him find evidence that he is a far-down-the-line heir to an enormous Dysquith fortune. Indeed, he has a birth certificate with that name in the middle. But there are 9 people in his way. It’s not long before the idea of helping them die pops into his fertile brain.

And we’re off to the races. Each of the Dysquith heirs makes an appearance and Monty has to make them disappear, as it were. Part of the enormous fun is the great technical support from the special effects team. Some of the murders are gruesome, though handled in the most fun way. Projections are heavily involved and ingenious in application.

Massey is quite adorable as Monty. He even has a conscience. He has two wonderful love interests: the self-interested Sibella (Kristen Beth Williams), who spurns his love for a safe marriage, and his distant cousin Phoebe (Adrienne Eller) who decides he will be hers. They all are perfectly cast. Their singing is divine.

The rest of the cast are certainly no slouches! Occasionally they get to demonstrate individual quality voices, and their blend is sublime.

The songs are lyrically clever and easy to listen to. You do have to get used to a British accent, but just keep at it.

It is something you can take any kids to who you won’t worry about exposing to murder, because otherwise, it’s very unobjectionable. Do pack up everyone in your house and around your neighborhood and go see this very fun show.


For more information, call 206-625-1900 or go to www.5thavenue.org.