BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Tilles Center "…A tale of revenge and retribution; So if you're smart", you'll see it!

BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Tilles Center “…A tale of revenge and retribution; So if you're smart”, you'll see it!If one were to describe A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder in a single phrase, it would be described as "madcap fun". On October 28, 2017, the national touring production of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (GGLM) performed at the Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY.

GGLM tells the story of Monty Navarro, the 9th Earl of Highhurst. The musical begins in a prison cell occupied by Monty in London 1909. Navarro is writing his memoirs on the eve of what might be his execution. Through flashbacks, Monty reveals via his inner monologue how he ended up in his current predicament. Back in 1907, Monty receives a visit from the mysterious Miss Shingle the night his mother passes away. Miss Shingle informs Monty that he is a member of the aristocratic D'Ysquith family and is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst. With this new information, Monty writes the family with the hopes of acquiring a job. Navarro's letter is met with disdain from the wealthy family and he is instantly rejected. Upon Monty's rejection, all eight D'Ysquiths that are ahead of Navarro begin meeting their demises mysteriously in both natural and unnatural ways. In addition to handling the losses of his recently deceased family members, Monty must also resolve a love triangle between the money-hungry, always out of reach Sibella Halward, and his beautiful distant cousin Phoebe D'Ysquith.

In many ways, GGLM was for musical theater like The Artist was for film. Michel Haznavicious's The Artist beautifully payed homage to silent films, the foundation of film, and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture back in 2012. Later that same year, GGLM made its world premiere at Hartford Stage Company. Thanks to the creative minds of director Darko Tresnjak, book writer and lyricist Robert L. Freedman, and composer Steven Lutvak, GGLM successfully pays homage to the operetta the foundation of musical theater, especially Edwardian English operettas (i.e. Lehar's The Merry Widow). GGLM then transferred to Broadway in 2013 and went on to win four Tony Awards including Best Musical. The musical is based on the novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman. 1949, the novel was turned in a classic British film entitled Kind Hearts and Coronets starring Alec Guinness. However, for legal reasons, the show could not affiliate itself with the film. I can only assume that this could be a reason why the ending falls flat. The end is a bit rushed and requires a little more elaborate storytelling. BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Tilles Center “…A tale of revenge and retribution; So if you're smart”, you'll see it!

The current national touring company of GGLM features many great star turns. James Taylor Odom gives a stellar performance as all eight doomed members of the D'Ysquith family. Odom's performance is as close as you'll get to seeing Peter Sellers live on stage. Our serial killer, Monty Navarro, was portrayed with sinister delight by Blake Price who recently made his Long Island theater debut in Jekyll & Hyde at the Engeman ater in Northport. Kristen Antoinette Kane stole the show adding elements of Hyacinth Bucket (that's Bouquet) to her portrayal of Miss Shingle. While many of the actors were great, the true stars are the talents behind the scenes. Alexander Dodge created a beautiful set that instantly transports you to Edwardian England upon entering the theater. The audience is further transported to the musical's time period thanks to the beautiful projections of Aaron Rhyne. Props must also be given to the backstage crew that assist Mr. Odom with his costume changes; he definitely holds the Guinness World record for fastest costume change and definitely dethroned Cher for the most costume changes in a single production. Steven Lutvak's score features many comical tunes that leave you in stitches such as: "I Don't Understand the Poor" the hilarious "Lady Hyacinth Abroad" and the beautifully staged "I've Decided to Marry You." Many feel the latter song is the show's best; however I must strongly disagree and say it is Act II's "Sibella". While continuing his love affair with Sibella, Monty reflects on the love he has for her and how she is always just out of reach. The song's snake-like musical intro alone beautifully characterizes how Sibella is always slinking out of Monty's grasp yet he still will forever love her. The song truly is haunting and wonderfully reflective.

This is a production you will not want to miss. Please check out the touring production's website to see if the production is performing in your area: https://gentlemansguideontour.com/tickets/

BWW Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Tilles Center “…A tale of revenge and retribution; So if you're smart”, you'll see it!

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