Hale’s ‘Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ wickedly funny

James Bounous and Robert Moffat appear in the Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday cast of "A of "Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at the Hale Centre Theatre. Photo: HCT

SANDY, Utah, Jan. 21, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” begins with a musical warning.

For those of you of weaker constitution
For those of you who may be faint of heart
This is a tale of revenge and retribution
So if you’re smart
Before we start
You’d best depart
You’d best depart

It’s tongue in cheek, of course. Don’t you dare leave, because you are in for a major treat of modern theater. “A Gentleman’s Guide” — which won four 2014 Tonys, including Best Musical — is clever and smart and wickedly funny.

The show, with book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvar, tells the rags to riches to jailhouse story of Montague Navarro, who learns after the death of his washer woman mother that she was a disowned member of the prestigious D’Ysquith family.

And he is ninth in the line of succession for an earldom.

Monty had been content with his humble life, but he has a flirtatious and frisky girlfriend, Sibella (a role shared by Erin Royall Clarson and Brittany Sanders), who has a goal of marrying her way into wealth — which, Monty realizes, he would possess if only eight of his formerly unknown relatives would die.

Making it all the more tempting is the fact that most members of the D’Ysquith family turn out to be pompous, entitled boobs. But will Monty actually kill them, or just fail to stop their unfortunate deaths?

Jacob Squire and James Bounous share the role of Monty, with Squire handling Monday/Wednesday/Friday duties, and Bounous leading the Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday cast.

In the roles of a lifetime, playing every quirky D’Ysquith in Monty’s sights, are Dallyn Vail Bayles in the M/W/F cast and Robert Moffat on the alternate days. Bayles’ opening night antics had the audience rolling with laughter.

Directing veteran Jim Christian, as usual, squeezes the maximum full fun out of every comic line and gesture. Musical director Gary Sorenson keeps the mayhem melodious, and set designer Jason Baldwin makes each changing scene a feast for the eyes.

Lighting designer Michael Gray takes full advantage of the Hale’s Jewelbox Stage’s technology, creating luxurious backgrounds and several laugh-out-loud comic effects.

If you ever wanted to laugh in the face of death, this is your chance. This show is a hoot, and the production values are top notch.

To check out this guilty pleasure, head to the Hale Centre Theatre before the run ends, on March 16. But buy your tickets first, since this show is likely to sell out. For tickets or more information, click here.

Jacob Squire and Erin Royall Carlson appear in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday cast of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Hale Centre Theatre. Photo: HCT

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