REVIEW: GENTLEMENS GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at the Vintage Theatre
by Edwin Lobach
Oh, my G. This show is so lively, charming, and outstandingly funny that I will say from the get-go that I recommend seeing it. A Vintage Theatre Denver premier, directed by the wonderful Bernie Cardell, Gentleman’s Guide is a musical written by Robert Freedman and Steven Lutvak about poor Monty (Andy Seracuse), a young man who at the beginning learns that his late mother was secretly heiress of a family fortune and his rather promiscuous lover Sibella (Anne Jennes) is marrying into money. The hitch, though, is that there are eight inheritors of the D’Ysquith family (Brandon Bill) in line ahead of Monty.
The opening number is a prologue, during which, rather than any introductions, the ensemble warns the audience to leave at once lest they witness the horrific events soon to unfold. But don’t let them fool you; yes, there are a handful of murders, but they are the funniest depictions of murder that you could ever imagine. Albeit, it is adult humor, but it’s neither too grotesque nor risqué, just pure comedy gold; so, had I any kids I wouldn’t mind bringing them.
Costume designer Susan Rahmsdorff-Terry, along with dressers Rachel Gibson and Haley Aochi, all did fantastic jobs capturing the early 20 th century English attire. The costume changes were quite frequent, and we got to watch Monty grow in stature from his lower class vest and slacks to his respectable three-piece suit. Most notable in changes of costumes was actor Brandon Bill who had to act as all eight heirs to D’Ysquith, as well as Lord D’Ysquith, Sr., and a servant of the court.
The above actor in question, Brandon Bill, was absolutely marvelous! He didn’t just have a slight change in character but made every character so uniquely different that at times I couldn’t tell if it were a different actor altogether. Further, he had hit a note so high during a musical number that I had to wonder if one of the female actors had actually performed it.
Let’s not forget the utterly contrasting rivalry of Phoebe D’Ysquith (Katie Jackson) and Sibella Holland (Anne Jennes), for while they were pulling on each of Monty’s arms, they were similarly swaying my heart for them. Jennes wonderfully portrayed the unchaste lady that Sibella is, singing in the lower, seductive voice, and then Jackson gifting us her high, beautifully dancing voice; both were so fun to watch and listen to.
Not every show I attend does the audience stand in their ovations, but we stood, along with our clapping and our hooting and our whistling. This show is hilarious and the production was outstanding. As said, I definitely recommend seeing this musical. A Gentleman’s Guide is laughing audiences to death now until March 24 th . Find tickets or other information by visiting vintagetheatre.com or calling 303-856-7830.