Review: A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER National Tour at Durham Performing Arts Center

By: Oct. 14, 2015

Based on the 1907 Roy Horniman novel Isreal Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal which also led to the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder tells the story of Monty Navarro, a penniless clerk who learns that he is ninth in line for his family's fortune. In order to inherit that fortune, Monty goes on a quest to kill all eight of his relatives that stand in his way while also juggling his romantic relationships with his fiance and his mistress.

After having world premieres at Hartford Stage in Connecticut and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, the musical officially opened on Broadway on November 17th, 2013. Despite receiving some critical acclaim, the show would spend months and months struggling financially all before winning four Tony Awards (including Best Musical).

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but after having seen the show, I just didn't get what everyone was raving about. Even as the audience was laughing throughout the show, I kept wondering why. I must've been one of the few people who mostly didn't find it funny (though I did chuckle a few times).

That's not to say there weren't stuff I liked about it. I thought it had a very likable cast led by Kevin Massey as Monty Navarro opposite John Rapson who so amazingly plays each and every member of the D'Ysquith family so distinctively and a very appealing featured performance by Adrienne Eller as Phoebe D'Ysquith. I will say that the parts of the plot I was most interested in was watching Monty executing the murders of each of his relatives as well as a certain moment near the end of the show that was pretty touching.

With a pleasant score by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak; some clever staging by director Darko Tresnjak; an attractive set designed by Alexander Dodge; elevating projections by Aaron Rhyne; and some authentic costumes designed by Linda Cho. As someone who found this show to be pretty overhyped, the best I can say about Gentleman's Guide is that it's a tour de force! This national touring production is currently playing at Durham Performing Arts Center through October 18th.

For more information regarding the tour, please visit:


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