“A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER” IS FANTASTIC FUN AT HARTFORD STAGE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

When a young man, newly orphaned, discovers his life of poverty and struggle was due to his mother’s disinheritance, for marrying a less than proper mate, he promptly takes action to correct this wrong. Monty Navarro writes to the head of the wealthy D’Ysquith family requesting a position in the family firm so he can work his way into their good graces.

 

The D’ysquith clan’s immediate rejection of his claims, with the proviso that he never contact them again, sets Monty on a quest not unlike Monty Python’s mission to capture the Holy Grail, with a little revenge thrown in for color. From now until Sunday, November 11, the Hartford Stage will be presenting the world premiere of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak, in all its fantastic “funnery.”

 

Hold on to your pantaloons, as Monty, a crisp and eager Ken Barnett, works to ingratiate himself into the family’s favor, with the goal of becoming the next Lord D’Ysquith. The fact that there are nine members ahead of him in line for the position neither discourages nor dismays him. This determined young gentleman, whose mission is to win the love and affection of one pink perfection of womanhood, Sibella Hallward (Lisa O’Hare), only inflames him to be more steadfast and resolute.

 

An amazing Jefferson Mays plays every D’Ysquith relative, male and female, with hilarious results, as one by one they mysteriously meet their maker. Whether they fall from the belfry, drown in an ice packed pond, drink a potion of poison or get eaten by cannibals, they are, nonetheless, definitely dead. Will Monty succeed in winning the coveted title of Lord and the fortune that accompanies it or will he be arrested for multiple murders? Darko Tresnjak directs this merry mix of mayhem and music with an inspired hand, on a truly exquisite Edwardian puppet stage created by Alexander Dodge, with a plethora of colorful costumes designed by Linda Cho.

 

For tickets ($26.50 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sundays and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

 

Five new plays, From the Page to the Stage, entitled BRAND will take place Thursday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 27 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m. Twenty actors, five directors and five new plays will be featured at Studio 2, 942 Main Street, Hartford. Tickets for all five readings are $25.

 

Hold on to Monty Navarro’s coat tails as he takes you through a musical and murderous maze, one filled with wit and surprises.


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