BWW Review: GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE at Hale Centre Theatre is Engaging
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER on Hale Centre Theatre's Jewel Box Stage features gorgeous vocals and engaging, constantly changing characters and locations.
Best Musical Tony winner A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER (book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman, music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak) is the tale of working class bloke Monty Navarro, who discovers he's ninth in line to inherit the massive D'Ysquith fortune. What is he willing to do to actually get there? And what quirky D'Ysquith heirs will he meet (and dispatch) along the way?
The zestful old-fashioned score has a modern twist that is well matched to the slightly off-kilter story.
James Bounous is captivating as Monty Navarro (double cast with Jacob Squire). He draws the audience along with him, somehow getting them to root for him on his questionable quest.
Robert Moffat as the various members of the D'Ysquith family (double cast with Dallyn Vail Bayles) differentiates character after character with skill and gusto that's a wonder to behold.
Brittany Sanders as Sibella Hallward (double cast with Erin Royall Carlson) and Cecily Ellis-Bills as Phoebe D'Ysquith (double cast with Lisa Zimmerman) reflect the essence of their characters with impeccably trained singing voices.
The singing across the board is exceptional, with the excellent musical direction by Gary Sorenson deserving of recognition, along with the clever staging and choreography from director Jim Christian.
This incarnation of the show is humorous and entertaining, but it does not induce the raucous laughter from the audience that is its potential to. All the pieces are there, but it's missing the nuanced comedic timing that could reach the dizzying heights of the original.
The period costume design by Kelsey Nichols, along with the hair and makeup design by Trisha Ison and Krissa Lent, are not only beautiful and artistic on the surface, but they have also incorporated significant thought into nonstop costume changes that appear completely effortless to the audience. They are extremely impressive.
The set design by Jason Baldwin, lighting design by Michael Gray, and projection design by Ian J. Johnston (with video/content provided by Bobby Gibson) do a good job of creating the world of the show, which changes nonstop throughout the story, utilizing the stage's new LED wall.
A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER plays through March 16, 2019. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Monty Navarro (James Bounous) and Sibella Hallward (Brittany Sanders)