2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder, opened last night for the show’s first widely anticipated tour stop in Minneapolis. Not since Book of Mormon have I laughed so much during a musical, though Gentleman’s Guide is of an entirely different (and far less crude) breed.
Set in England 1909, the story follows Monty D’Ysquith Navarro and the 8 members of the D’Ysquith family who stand between Monty and the title of Earl of Highhurst. Monty has his work cut out for him as he plots and murders his way up the family tree. Throw in an unrequited love/affair and some kissing cousins and you have yourself a dramatic yet hilarious show that moves at lightning speed.
Four primary characters are at the center of the show: Monty, Sibella, Phoebe, and the D’Ysquith family. Yes, I know what I just said. This is because while there are nearly 10 distinct D’Ysquith family members, they’re all brilliantly played by a single actor, John Rapson (a la Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, except not all at once – this is live theater, after all). From kooky pastor to busty spinster and everything in between, Rapson easily steals the show with his incredible acting range. Kevin Massey is also fantastic in the role of Monty: you’ll be surprised how quickly you start rooting for a murderer.
The music is upbeat and surprisingly catchy, the period costumes are beautiful, and the staging is ever-evolving yet amazingly simple. In short, there is so much to be entertained by, you don’t want to blink for fear of missing something.
Gentleman’s Guide runs through Sunday, January 10th at the State Theatre, and this is one you don’t want to miss. More information and tickets are available here.