A Review of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

The following review of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder was written by actor-director-composer-author Paul Bruce.

The Guild produced A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, with book and lyrics by Robert L Freedman and lyrics and music by Steven Lutvak, in cooperation with Music Theatre International.

If you’re looking for an evening that will guarantee delight, then look no further. The Players Guild of Dearborn is currently running A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder and the portrayals wrought by a combination of brilliant directing by Mike Moseley and a cast composed largely of pure genius makes the evening evaporate before anyone has had their fill of fun and frolic.

Heading the cast is longtime Guild favorite Brian Townsend (seen on the left in the photo below) who portrays every last member of the infamous D’Ysquith family – a collection of old wealth and delicious eccentricities. Watching Mr. Townsend flush out each character with his quick wit and captivating physical humor is worth the price of a ticket alone. Never mind the lightning fast quick changes that will boggle your mind! His wonderful singing voice, host of British accents, and his impeccable comic timing make him irresistible.

Acting opposite Mr. Townsend in the role of Montague “Monty” Navarro is Graham Dallas (on the right above), a young man with remarkable skill who steals the show with his captivating voice and equally brilliant comedic portrayal of a young man, robbed of his birthright. Listen for his marvelous rendition of the musical number, Sibella, in act II for a real treat!

Cast in the role of Sibella Hallward is Jamee Perryman (in red in the photo below), who last graced the Guild stage in the musical, It Shoulda Been You. She is, at once, clever, quirky, eloquent and hilarious! Her singing voice is a real treat and you would do well to pay special attention to her number “I Don’t Know What I’d Do Without You.”

Her nemesis, and Monty’s bride, Phoebe D’Ysquith, is played by Madeleine Bien (in blue in the photo below). Ms. Bien does an utterly lovely job in the role and is truly endearing in her musical feature, “I’ve Decided To Marry You.” Particularly delightful, is the musical number she shares with Ms. Perryman in the show’s eleventh hour entitled, “That Horrible Woman.” The combination of these two exquisite voices is mind blowing.

Also of note is Patti Jones Martin, who plays the comedic role of Miss Shingle to perfection. Ms. Martin is quite funny and does a splendid job in all of her singing features, particularly the number, “You’re A D’Ysquith.”

The show’s crackerjack ensemble (the whole cast is pictured below) is populated with the talents of Amy Jones, Carissa Lokken, Alissa Pullum, Sebastian Zackery Adams, Mark Wagner and Jacob Dray. These six wizkids play an array of characters throughout the evening that is so vast one needs a scorecard just to keep track of them. Making costume changes and performing complex song and dance routines that will astound you appears to be their collective trademark. Major kudos to them!

Working staff positions with director Mike Moseley are Janeen Bodary – assistant director and choreographer, Jacob Dray – dance captain, and Steve Woznicki – music director. Ms. Bodary and Mr. Dray’s workmanship in the dance department is nothing short of remarkable. Of special note are the numbers, “Lady Hyacinth Abroad” and “Why Are All The D’Ysquith’s Dying?” The splashy and clever movement in these pieces make them utterly splendid! Mr. Woznicki’s work with the vocal and orchestral components of the show is simply lovely! An extremely well wrought orchestra accompanies the marvelous voices all night long, much to the delight of the lucky listeners.

Costumes by Diane Kaplan and crew are enchanting. A medal should be awarded here just for the number of outfits that cross the stage during the performance. Equally nice are Mr. Moseley’s colorful sets. A carefully thought out combination of projected images, furniture and a few three dimensional pieces within various sections of the show make for some really fun visuals.

If you are looking for a wonderful piece of entertainment this show is for you. You can see this show over the next two weekends at The Players Guild Theater in Dearborn. Good seats are available, especially over the Thanksgiving weekend. Tickets can be purchased by calling (313) 561-TKTS or on-line at www.playersguildofdearborn.org.