A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

The Center for Performing Arts, Rhinebeck

You may think twice about what you expect from a $27 musical after reading this review.

By Andrew Andrews

Thomas Netter (The D’Ysquith Family) and Michael Koutelos (Monty Navarro) performing “Better with a Man” in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder at The CENTER for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck. Original photos by Olivia Michaels Bogert.

Montague Navarro has just buried his beloved mother, when a strange woman named Miss Shingle unexpectedly appears at the door of his shoddy South London flat in 1907.

Shingle tells Navarro that his mother was actually a member of the wealthy D’Ysquith family before being disowned for marrying his father, a Castilian musician who has long been deceased.

In an attempt to escape his impoverishment, “Monty” writes to Lord Asquith D’Ysquith Sr., head of the family brokerage firm, explaining his relationship and asking for employment.

After being rebuffed by D’Ysquith’s namesake son, Monty embarks on a plan to kill off the eight heirs who stand between himself and his claim to the title of Earl of Highhurst.

Along the way, Monty’s longtime love interest Sibella announces her engagement to a well-off but boring gentleman named Lionel to secure her own place in society, making Monty even more desperate to obtain his noble position and a future with his mutual love.

Full of cheeky songs (such as “I Don’t Understand the Poor” and “Better with a Man”) and silly, but not ridiculous antics, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is a light-hearted, Tony-award-winning musical that spent three years on Broadway and two on a national tour before this Hudson Valley premiere at the CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck.

Gianna Tucci delivers a Broadway-quality performance in the minor role of Phoebe D’Ysquith.

Gentleman’s Guide is one of those perfectly-blithesome musicals that’s likely as easy to pull-off as it is to enjoy.

Nonetheless, this performance by Up in One Productions was quite well done, with a full seven-piece orchestra behind the scenes and a talented cast of eleven on stage.

The production is highly-entertaining, and after comparing the singing to the soundtrack by the Broadway cast, I have to say that the delivery of the musical numbers was every bit as good as the original recording!

The company skews a little younger than the roles they perform, but the casting is otherwise good, and although the actors are still developing their talent to its fullest potential, the performance by everyone involved is worthy of applause. The vocals by Gianna Tucci particularly stand out, as does the zany performance by Thomas Netter of almost every other member of the D’Ysquith family.

The costume design by Anita Otey and Bill Ross is exquisite, defining a unique personality for every character.

Although not as professional as a show at the shuttered-for-winter Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, this production at The CENTER is loads of fun, and the low ticket price will make you feel like you’re getting away with murder!

Andrew Andrews attended A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder at The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck on Friday, November 5, 2021 @ 8:00pm to write this review.