New York Theatre Review: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEWS

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

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gentlemansguide

Joanna Glushak, Lauren Worsham, Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O’Hare and Jefferson Mays

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By Joseph Yranski

Review: May 3, 2014

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I saw a great new musical – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder based upon the 1907 novel which was turned into the 1949 movie classic Kind Hearts and Coronets. It is perhaps the best new musical since The Book of Mormon. It is staged in a traditional English musical hall format of having a second stage mounted within the main proscenium with Austrian curtain that raises and lowers for each of the changing scenes. While reminiscent of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the score is both organic and has assimilated the work of Gilbert & Sullivan, Stephen Sondheim, Noel Coward, and Musical Hall songs. All together the company manages to present Tom Foolery that is sharp and witty as if the work has been simmering for 100 years in comedic heavens – only to emerge fully blown and evolved into a comic masterpiece.

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The cast runs like a well oiled stock company that has been performing this work until it is now fully honed. Jefferson Mays plays the many faces of the varied “D’Ysquith” assassinated dynasty. He is suitably broad in his characterizations and seems to be the noble descendant of Monty Python. His spoiled sprigs on the family tree are mostly stuffed shirts or stuffed skirts — and are performed so dazzling by him that you will laugh too hard to shed a tear for any of them. But surprisingly it is Bryce Pinkham who shines the brightest, not only as he piles up the bodies of his estranged family. He is wonderfully zestful as he is dispatching those in his way to the Earldom – at the same time his boyish charm and charisma are evident as he courts both the seductive Sibella played by the talented Lisa O’Hare, and the Virtuous Phoebe wonderfully vocalized by Lauren Worsham.

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Despite the high body count, this amusing show will lift the hearts of all those pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form: musicals that match streams of memorable melody with witty turns of phrase. Bloodlust has never been sung so sweetly or provided so much theatrical fun for many a year.

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A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is currently playing at the

Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 West 48th Street, New York City.

For more information, click HERE.

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