How far would YOU go in order to get the person of your dreams to say “yes” to marriage? Would you get a college degree and get a job? Would you even move out of your parent’s basement? In Dundalk Community Theatre’s production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” the hero of the story, Monty is willing to commit murder; many, many murders in order to marry the lovely Sibella. This musical is not a who-done-it, but rather, it is a comical farce of how Monty did it.
In case you have never been to the Dundalk Community Theatre in Baltimore, I can tell you that this organization always assembles the finest talent on stage and behind the scenes, producing community theatre of the highest of caliber.
The nimble and clever book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and murderously sweet music by Steven Lutvak, tells the story of Monty Navarro (Played by a devilishly dashing and vocally pleasing Rob Tucker), a penniless clerk who finds out from Miss Shingle (Played by an entertainingly eccentric, Cockney-speaking Holly Pasciullo) that he is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst. Curiously, the eight D’Ysquiths ahead of young Mr. Navarro begin dying in unbelievably funny ways.
So who is this woman that Monty loves so much that he is willing to murder 8 members of his own family? That woman is none other than the beautiful Sibella Hallward, played by an unashamedly manipulative and ambitious Allison Comotto. She also has a singing voice that could charm the birds off a tree. Will Monty wind up winning the heart of Sibella or will he fall in love with his cousin, Phoebe D’Ysquith, played with sweet sophistication by Marina Yiannouris?
One of the gimmicks of the play is that one actor plays 9 different roles. This challenging task is given to actor Patrick Martyn. Martyn is tearfully hysterical as we see him get murdered 8 different times as 8 different characters. One of the more memorable songs is when Martyn as Lord Adlabert D’Ysquith, Sr., an elderly banker performs with great panache “I Don’t Understand the Poor.”
The cast is rounded off by a team of vocally strong ensemble members, including Alyssa Bell, Casey Lane, Jane E. Brown, Jim Baxter, Ken Ewing, and Joey Hellman.
An old British music hall stage complete with red curtain rests upon the Dundalk Community Theatre stage. Credit goes to Marc W. Smith and his team for being responsible for the scenic, lighting, and sound design. There are some scenic surprise elements during the course of the show, none of which I will give away, except to say that they are clever and comedic.
The sound of the 10 piece orchestra is pleasing to the ears. Musical director/conductor Catina McLagan also plays the piano, while Morgan Dice (Violin 1), Katherine Smolen (Violin 2/Viola), Patrick Fowler (Double Bass), Mary Haaser (English Horn/Oboe), Noelle Lipa (Clarinet), Kevin Solomowitz (Basson), Amy Stephens (French Horn), Ginger Turner (Trumpet), and Mike Feathers (Percussion), round off the talented, live orchestra.
Directed and choreographed by the incomparable Todd Pearthree, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at Dundalk Community Theatre is community theatre of the highest of caliber.
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” plays through November 3, 2019 at Dundalk Community College. For more information and tickets, visit online.