A Gentleman’s Guide to Love And Murder Review

On Saturday I went to go see the newest Peace Players production, and on the whole, I loved it.

The story follows a distant heir to a family fortune as he works his way to becoming… Less distant. I mean he kills a bunch of people, it’s in the title. I don’t want to give too much of the story away here, so that’s as much as I’ll say, and it’s pretty much all you need. Each new character is hilarious, and when you meet them, you just start thinking about how hilarious their inevitable death is going to be, and they all are.

On the note of individual performances, I have to give props to a certain actor. The script has each of the family members all being played by one man, and the actor playing each of them does a fantastic job selling each of the characters. They all feel distinct, whether it’s the accent he uses, the mannerisms and ways he moves, or what vocal register he speaks in, every character feels unique, and I can easily tell them apart in my memory. The other leading man did a great job being the straight man throughout most of the show, and his general demeanor reminds me of Act 1 Macbeth, who just generally doesn’t know what he’s doing, and sort of bumbles his way through murders.

I’d also like to extend special regards to the leading actresses in the show. The singing on the whole for the entire cast was great, but the two leading ladies had voices which could be described as simply “angelic.” I found myself holding my breath a few different times, just to be sure I could hear every note. The chorus members did fantastic as well, and always felt like they belonged in each scene. They really helped sell the world of the show, and I’ve seen plenty of shows in my day whose choruses couldn’t accomplish that, so huge round of applause to them.

I have only one real complaint about the show, and to be fair, it’s an issue with the script, not the direction or the acting. Each of the family members that gets killed along the way in the story is generally evil in some way. Whether it’s the character that’s sympathetic to the plight of the main character, but refuses to act in his defence, the lady who tried charity like it’s a fad, and quits the moment it gets hard, or the guy who sings an entire song about how he just “doesn’t understand the poor,” it’s clear that they’re supposed to be villains, and we shouldn’t feel bad about them dying. Except one just stands out to me as being… in bad taste. There’s a character whose whole character can be boiled down to just… he’s gay. That’s it. Every “joke” from his lips is just “haha look, I’m gay and it’s funny because gay is funny and weird and bad tee hee.” There were one or two points that made me chuckle a little, but I was pretty uncomfortable through those 5-ish minutes. Of course that’s no fault of the director or the actors. There was also a couple moments where it was a little hard to make out what some of them were saying during the songs, but on the whole, it wasn’t too hard to follow what was going on.

All in all, I think the show is well worth the price of the ticket. I’d give the whole show a 9/10. Hardly anything in there to complain about, and there’s so much that they manage to knock out of the park, it was just a wonderful experience for me. If you didn’t get to see it during its opening weekend, you still have the chance to, this Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets are available at the Sawridge Inn.