‘Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, an incredible theatre experience that lacks diverity’
‘Gentleman’s guide to Love and Murder’ flies generally under the radar in this season. It’s one of the lesser known events of the season compared to juggernauts like Rent, Hamilton, and The Lion King. Which is surprising because of its 2014 Best Musical Tony Award, and three other wins that night. ‘Gentleman’s guide’ is truly the most underrated show this season.
‘Gentleman’s Guide’ does something that no other show does this season has, keeps you laughing. It’s an unprecedented night at theatre. Something you generally wouldn’t expect and it’s the perfect comedy. Every moment is choreographed, and the timing must be perfect. Gentleman’s guide utilizes digital projections which isn’t commonly seen on tour.
I love this staging! The projections only add more life to this brilliant show!! it’s just so good, I loved how the projections told the story of the show. From being a swarm of bees, a church tower and even Africa, the projections were a highlight. My favorite part by far was the simplicity of the set.
The set was just a stage with a curtain, then it’d open and become a whole new location. The stage crew for this show doesn’t get a break by the time one scene ends, another is picking up with new set pieces. They moved caskets, a swing, entire walls of props, and tables. I just want to shout out all the people moving those sets cause you all did it seamlessly.
Gentleman’s guide is more of an ensemble show so I’m going to skip the character breakdown. I must commend the writers and actors for this material and these performances. One I will specifically focus on James Taylor Odom. I chose these two because of timing, but timing means two different things for these performers.
James Taylor Odom played the nine members of D’Sqyuith family which is ridiculous. Each character was different, different variations on accent, even different walks. That’s just masterful character acting on his part. I just have take a moment to acknowledge he has a 30 second costume change in the show! THIRTY SECONDS! Sir, my hat is off to you.
This show is incredibly difficult show for every cast member, it’s very purposeful in everything it does. Every step, wink, or even hand hold is choreographed. Some movements as simple opening a book are matched in music so it all must be exact. I want to thank this entire cast for their voices and their work. The women in this show are incredibly talented and singing for their lives. They’re all brilliant and I cannot wait to see what they do.
After the show, I wondered if I loved the show so much how come it didn’t shoot to the top of my favorites list. This was truly one of the best written and put together shows I’ve seen so why didn’t it make it? Then I realized no one on the stage remotely looked like me. Not one person, there wasn’t a singular person of color.
Representation is important and the reason this show didn’t stick out to me like a Hamilton, or Rent, or Lion King is because its lack of People of color. I didn’t see anyone I knew onstage, no one like me, and I couldn’t relate to the show. It was a beautiful production, but I couldn’t relate and that ruined the suspension of disbelief for me.
We are in an era of theatre that’s inclusive. Even shows as “offensive” as The Book of Mormon have diverse casts. There’s no excuse for there being no actors of color in this show. we’re living in a time where mixed race men can play Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and a black man can play Billy Bigelow in Carousel. The audience wouldn’t be confused or hung up on it because it’d be as normal as everyone else in the audience being different. Sure, you could say maybe it’s not a part of the vision but that’s when you change the vision.
Theatre is inclusivity and there are Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, African, etc. actors that could be in this show but weren’t given the opportunity. Most theatre audiences at this point will not simply relate to an all-white cast. Theatre is personal, we all remember the first time we saw someone that looked like us doing what we wanted to do. So, what does this show say to the theatre kids like me? Because we can be funny, do a British accent, and so much more. So why aren’t we represented in this show is my question. That’s what holds this show back, it could be just as loved as Hamilton if more people related to it.
Its in an untapped market of musical comedy that no other show is doing for mature audiences. ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ already has a tony, so it’s settled that the show is fantastic but why aren’t people showing up for it like they would Rent. Where is the excitement, the energy that pulses through an audience all awaiting one singular experience they won’t forget? I missed that energy and I think it could easily be there if there was more diverse representation onstage.
Gentleman’s guide to love and murder is at the Fox theatre from now until March 18th, 2018. You can buy your tickets below: https://atlanta.eventticketscenter.com/a-gentlemans-guide-to-love-and-murder-atlanta-tickets/169779/e?ppcsrc=BZDG&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=c
Go to their website and follow them on social media here: https://gentlemansguideontour.com/