Murder Can Be Entertaining…

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Murder can be funny, clever and inventive…at least on Broadway. I just had a wickedly entertaining time at the musical,  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

Some of you may not be familiar with the brilliance that is Jefferson Mays. He won a Tony in 2004 for his outstanding multi-character solo performance in, I Am My Own Wife.

In this show, he energetically takes on multiple roles. He portrays 8 wacky members of an aristocratic family, doomed to die at the hands of a distant heir, who feels entitled to the family fortune after his mother was disowned for marrying a commoner.

The play is fashioned after the novel which inspired the classic Alex Guinness’ 1949 film, Kind Hearts and Coronets.

The cast, sets and costumes are all superb. Monty Navarro, played to perfection by Bryce Pinkham, (he suffered through the play, Ghost) the impovrished relative, discovers, on the day of his mother’s funeral, that she was a D’Ysquith. His former nanny, Miss Shingle, a marvelously expressive Jane Carr, reveals Monty’s lineage and it takes off from there.

The woman of his dreams, Sibella, the sexy Lisa O’Hare, is terrific in the vampy role of the woman whose singular goal is to marry for money. The sincere, future Mrs. Navarro, the lovely Lauren Worsham with the gorgeous operatic voice, adds beauty and texture to the ensemble.

Jefferson Mays along with Mark Rylance are two stage actors I make a point of seeing in all their productions. Mays is fantastic, but especially funny as Rev. Lord Ezekial D’Ysquith, a drooling, alcoholic old cleric with a severe overbite who topples from the church tower and Lady Hyacinth, a dedicated and undaunted philanthropist who Navarro packs off to India and Africa.

Jefferson Mays as the Reverend
Jefferson Mays as the Reverend

The naughty and bawdy English humor and witty and clever lyrics, reminiscent of Gilbert and Sullivan, are a treat and are sung to perfection. The chorus is outstanding. The show is a throw back to the old music hall days…yet is entertaining today.

The opening and closing numbers are very engaging. The play loses a bit of steam after intermission since there is no one left to murder, but it would, indeed, be a crime not to see this talented cast and hear the inspired lyrics from,  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder, Walter Kerr Theatre 219 West 48th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue) NYC.

The Cast
The Cast

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