Race on over to the LYRIC STAGE to see the Tony Award-winning Best Musical A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER! This is a sparkling production of a truly hilarious farce featuring a crack cast in a crackpot musical murder mystery– in reverse! We know who done it — it’s the how that keeps things moving, and a top notch ensemble of Boston luminaries directed by the Lyric’s marvelous artistic director “emeritus” Spiro Veloudos.
Jared Troilo stars as the handsome hitman Montague “Monty” Navarro who discovers he’s a D’Ysquith–and only 8th in line to inherit their fabulous wealth! What’s a long lost heir to do? Why, simply dispose of the seven unsuspecting, thoroughly eccentric and oblivious D’Ysquith’s in between him and the D’Ysquith fortune! Neil A. Casey brings his special brand of wacky to each and every doomed and dotty D’Ysquith. Just looking at the odd glint in his eye cracked me up before he ever said a word.
The rest of the cast, many in multiple roles, is an embarrassment of riches. There’s Aimee Doherty’s sultry, social-climbing Sibella; Jennifer Ellis’s prim and quirky cousin Phoebe; these two damsels and Monty are a thrilling threesome in Act II’s signature number “I’ve Decided to Marry you.” Voices to die for.
All the musical numbers crack along thanks to choreographer Larry Sousa and musical director Matthew Stern. Leigh Barrett finally breaks free in Act II to become the howlingly hilarious and haughty Lady Eugenia D’Ysquith. Sets (Shelley Barish) & beautiful costumes (Elisabetta Polito) effortlessly evoke the gilded age on a small set with big impact.
LOVED IT. See A GENTLEMAN’s GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at Lyric Stage through May 22!
Then pop over to the GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY in Stoneham and catch a world premiere before it closes this weekend: MISS HOLMES RETURNS. The world’s greatest detective is back and once again– Sherlock now “She”lock–succeeds in the transition. Deftly directed by Weylin Symes and written by Christopher M. Walsh, the brilliant Miss Holmes is played with precision and charm by Marge Dunn who returns as the brilliant, hyper-focused sleuth who’s immune to flattery, oblivious to fashion, stimulated by fair play and social justice in her pursuit of THE FACTS and where those facts lead– an increasingly rare destination of late.
The primary investigation involves a dead body and whether or not it’s a case of murder or self defense. A secondary plot involves an ongoing case touching on the political issues of the day and its embedded prejudices: racism, sexism, classism, women’s autonomy over their own bodies. Tragic how some things never change. The play provides an off ramp to the hot button issue of today without sinking under the weight of its agenda.
The set (Katy Monthei) is a beauty– dark, mysterious, stuffed with victoriana, yet somehow still sleek. The whole design team deserves kudos. In addition to the compelling Marge Dunn, there’s the consistently remarkable Paul Melendy who puts yet another twist on his cavalcade of geeky, eccentric characters. His eyebrows alone deserve recognition. Cheryl McMahon, Shonna Cirone, Shubhangi Kuchibhotla, Emme Shaw, Lily Steven, Joshua Wolf Colman, and Alexander Platt round out this first rate ensemble.
I do have a quibble with the second act which gets bogged down at its climax by a protracted and prolix denouement. The playwright is perhaps in danger of outsmarting himself with overly intricate details of plot. But I appreciate his mostly successful attempt to make explicit the social injustices which continue to plague us, and entertain us in the process! Take mom to see this before it ends this Mothers’ Day!