Despite the high body count in Regalo Theater’s newest production, death comes with many laughs, costume changes and show tunes. Murder has never been more fun, and Regalo Theater has created a solid piece of entertainment that had the audience laughing and cheering with sheer delight. The show was scheduled to open on Jan. 5, but due to an illness of one of the actors in a principal role, it opened instead on Jan. 6 and runs through Jan. 20.
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is a 2013 musical comedy with music by Steven Lutvak, lyrics by Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, and book by Freedman. This Tony Award-winning musical was the most nominated show of the 2014 season. This production is superbly directed by the accomplished Michael Carrasco, with Allison Brooks as the music director and choreography by Shelby Allgaier-Horton.
The story follows Monty Navarro, a man born low in stature in early 20th-century London. Navarro discovers he is part of the influential D’Ysquith family that had disinherited his recently deceased mother. After learning this information, he attempts to connect with the family in hopes of becoming a successor to the family’s wealth but is disregarded. When he learns he is eighth in line to head the family, the endearing and clever Navarro takes matters into his own hands.
The dynamic ensemble cast is full of clear personalities with unique interests and perspectives. They are entertaining and robust with extraordinary harmony, leaving the audience in awe and cheering for more.
Evan Meigs stood in for the role of Monty Navarro in place of Jake Hart, who was sick. Meigs was charismatic with a quick wit. Even with a script in hand, he seemed at ease as he captivated the audience with a strong presentation, impeccable timing and bold acting. His lightly rehearsed performance was impressive as he carried the narrative forward and engaged the audience throughout the production.
Joy Austin beautifully plays Navarro’s love interest, Sibella Hallward. Her voice is effervescent and effortlessly hits the high notes. Her performance is flirtatious, willful, calculating and irresistible.
Phoebe D’Ysquith, Navarro’s distant cousin who becomes his wife, is portrayed by Brittni Smith. She is humorous with a youthful innocence behind her sophistication. Smith has perfect comic timing and brings Phoebe to life with her sonorous voice and spirited performance.
The extraordinarily talented Chris Last portrays all eight members of the D’Ysquith family. He gives an animated performance and never runs out of steam. He steals every scene with his wit as he creates unique voices, movements and expressions for each family member. Last’s storytelling is remarkable and a highlight of the show. He runs the gamut of subtlety to slapstick and uproariously farcical comedy with ease.
The set design includes a “vaudeville” type set built on the stage, effectively supporting and enhancing the theme and mood of the production. The vibrant costumes established the tone and style of the production and were effective in the quick-change costumery.
“A Gentleman’s Guide” is a compelling production that does not disappoint. Regalo Theater delivered on its guarantee of laughter and suspense with a brilliant cast and a “score that will have you humming all the way home.”
Regalo Theater Company, the production staff and the brilliant cast showed professionalism through adverse circumstances. The cast didn’t miss a beat and gave a stellar performance, and the staff adjusted and made the hard decisions to ensure that the production was a success, because in show business, “the show must go on.”
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” plays through Jan. 20 at Skyridge High School, 3000 North Center Street, Lehi, with evening shows at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit www.regalotheater.com/shows. As a special offering to Lehi Free Press readers, use code “Lehifreepress” at checkout for a 10% discount.