Stage west’s rendition of Roy Horniman’s novel, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder has brought
murder and mayhem to the Calgary stage with an explosion of creative humour.
This satire begins with an ensemble singing about how the performance is not for the faint of heart, how blood might spill, and if the audience is smart, they should depart.
It is followed by the lead character Montague (Monty) Navarro, played by Sayer Roberts, finding out his real family history from a friend of his late mothers, Miss Shingle Played by Elizabeth Stepkowski-Tarhan.
While going through his mother’s things Monty finds a box of returned unopened letters from his mother to various members of her family who had shunned her from the family after she married a not-so-wealthy man out of love rather than for his money.
After reading the letters, Monty finds out he is eighth in line for an earldom in the well-off D’Ysquith family, which he believes the chances of him outliving his predecessors are slight.
Monty embarks on a dark path to become the ninth Earl of Highhurst and win back the affection of his first real love who has eyes for someone else.
Throughout the performance, Monty finds himself in a love triangle between two women after his true love Sibella Hallward, played by Kate Blackburn, weds a well-known man for his money.
As a result, Monty decides to marry his cousin Phoebe D’Ysquith played by Ellen Denny.
This ultimately causes Sibella’s heart to break, as she is tired of her husband.
In an attempt to win back Monty, Sibella is in the wrong place at the wrong time, when the current Earl of Highhurst dies unexpectedly during a dinner party.
Both of Monty’s love interests are taken into questioning but are ultimately found not-guilty.
Although the performance was quite serious, the crowd responded well to the over-the-top creative murder scenes including a freak skating accident, characters being poisoned, or being pushed off from the tops of towers.
To break up the tension from all of the witty murder scenes, one-liners were made from all characters, and met with laughter and cheers from the audience.
All of the performers were expectational, especially Tyler Murree who played various D’Ysquith family characters, who all died throughout the show.
The set design was perfect, nothing felt out of place, the singing was terrific, and the crowd was entertained the entire night.
This performance offered a unique night out and was made specifically for anyone who loves a witty satire or has a very-very dark sense of humour.