BWW Review: GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Broadway SacramentoI should probably say that A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder is murderously hilarious. But the Tony Award winner isn't quite an over-the-top farce. The show's music might remind you of anything from Gilbert and Sullivan operettas to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, or perhaps even a bit of Sondheim's A Little Night Music. But it's not quite those, either. The unique, character-driven musical, which plays through Sunday at Broadway Sacramento, is rather silly, rather charming and all together entertaining. Never has murder been so fun.

The aforementioned Monty Python-esque murders come courtesy of Monty Navarro, ninth in line to the earldom (but that won't stand long) and newly discovered member of the fortuned D'Ysquith family. Kevin Massey's Monty fits the ideal picture of a handsome and amiable British gentleman, but the feat of Gentleman's Guide relies on tour-de-force John Rapson, starring as every other heir to the D'Ysquith title. It takes skill to die so well so many times, and Rapson is his own one-man show. The actor earned a well-deserved standing ovation Tuesday evening as pictures of all his personalities appeared on a screen behind him during bows.

In regards to the other half the musical's title - namely, love - two women vie for Monty's affections: the married Sibella Hallward (Kristen Beth Williams) and Miss Phoebe D'Ysquith (Kristen Hahn), the sweet and innocent sister of one of the men to which Monty must give the axe. If you don't see this show for the extraordinary Rapson, see it for these superb sopranos. And if the remaining ensemble does not astound you with repeated change of costume and character, perhaps the musical's diverting finale will win you. Gentleman's Guide may not kill you with laughter, but the witty production's remarkable designs and multi-talented cast will leave you invested in the humorous fate of these ridiculous characters.


California Musical Theatre - Broadway Sacramento
Through Sunday, March 12

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From This Author Harmony Wheeler

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