Review: ‘Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ at Green Valley Theatre Company

Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm, Sun 7pm; Through 2/24; $20; Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street;
Rated 5.0

The 2014 Tony Award-winning comedic musical Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is a delightful hoot of a show, with colorful characters, a quick-witted storyline and melodic tunes. Green Valley Theatre’s current production of it is one of the most entertaining must-sees to hit the local theater scene in a while.

Much credit goes to Christopher Cook, the show’s combined director, costume/set designer, and musical director of the production’s live, 10-person orchestra. The talented cast’s two gifted leads, the bevy of musicians and the creative production crew also shine.

The plot is simple—Monty D’Ysquith (the animated Jouni Kirjola) is a poor man who finds out he’s ninth in line to become the Earl of Highhurst. One by one, the D’Ysquith heirs (all played by an amazingly transformative Bob Roe) die of unusual causes—each death moving Monty closer to a large inheritance. Jennifer Zimny and Corley Pillsbury play supporting love interests with aplomb.

The 1920s Westminster Presbyterian Church is the perfect stage site for the show’s old-fashioned dramatics and theatrics. The costumes are period-perfect, and the stage design is era-appropriate with plywood cutouts and hanging backdrops.

Before the show, Cook stands in front of the red-velvet curtains, declaring that the “old-school musical is not dead—it’s alive, well and vibrant”—all true, thanks in particular to this Green Valley production. —Patti Roberts