Last evening I saw the musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2014 and I saw an enjoyable excerpt of the show when the award was given – a scene in which the bedroom door faces the parlor door and the fiancee is in one room and the mistress is in the other.
The basic story is straightforward. Monty Navarro’s mother Isabel has just died and one of her friends tells him he is part of the D’Ysquith family, one of which is the Earl of Highhurst. When the family found out who she wanted to marry they disowned her. Now that Monty knows he is furious that his mother had to struggle financially after his father died. After a while he decides the best revenge is to become the Earl of Highhurst, though that means murdering the eight family members who are in line ahead of him. And yes, it is a comedy.
Part of the fun of the show is that one actor plays nine members of the family, including all eight who die. Many of them are quite eccentric – the current Earl sings “I don’t understand the poor,” – and this actor has a great deal of fun shamelessly overacting in all nine roles.
I had a big smile on my face during most of the show and laughed along with the rest of the audience. It was only on the drive home that I thought about why I was in Seattle recently and what my family has gone through in the last year. A musical treating eight deaths as comedy didn’t seem so funny.