(Poisonous) trifles and tribulations: The Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s first production brings love and murder to the stage

The Motyer-Fancy Theatre is kicking off spooky season on a grueling note. Their first production of the year, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, is a gruesome tale of love, betrayal, and yes, murder. A lot of murder.

The story is simple: Monty Navarro’s ordinary life is turned upside down when he discovers he is eighth in line to become the Earl of Highhurst. Monty is determined to become the Earl and win over his true love, but to do this he must somehow execute the others in line before him. In his pursuit, he is met with dark hilarity, unique characters, and unexpected romantic endeavors.

Second-year music student Emma Yee plays Sibella Hallward, Monty’s true love. As fierce as she is elegant, she is a headstrong leading force in the flow of the show. Yee was aiming for this role despite her history of playing kind and motherly characters.

“Sibella is so different from any character that I’ve played before,” said Yee, “I knew that I wanted to go for Sibella… She knows what she wants, and she is very much determined to get what she wants.”

Gentleman’s Guide will be the theatre’s second on-stage production since the pandemic hit. Onstage alongside Yee are Jacob Farrell (Monty Navarro), Amanda Godin (Phoebe D’Ysquith), and Maika Branch (Marietta Shingle). In a talented act of quick changes, Paul Brisk Jr. will play the entire D’Ysquith Family, using his impressive vocal range and acting skills to play eight characters. The six-person chorus includes the talents of Nathan Smith, Brandi Mulherin, Melanie Dupuis, Molly Dysart, Emma Etheridge and Sarah Workman.

Despite the show’s grisly demeanor, it is being handled with an infinite amount of love and care behind the scenes. The production is being directed by the Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s production manager, Paul Del Motte, with co-direction and choreography by Molly Dysart. It will be designed by the theatre’s brand new Resident Designer Julia Kim and stage managed by Faith Higgins. The epic feat of musical direction has been undertaken by Lauryn MacDonald.
The production will abide by the province’s COVID regulations. The audience will be masked, tickets will be pre-booked, and audiences will be sitting in seat pods of four.

“Gentleman’s Guide’ will be the first show of the Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s season, followed by Henry’s Law (directed by Carson Rafuse), MASCARADE (performed by Tintamarre), The Wolves (directed by Valmai Goggin) and a final show which is to be determined. It will be the only musical put on by the theatre this year, and it is certainly not to be missed.

“It’s just gonna be a really fun show,” said Yee, “my idea of musical theater is always an escape, and Gentleman’s Guide is definitely that. It’s just a fun night at the theater, where you just […] get to look at this utter ridiculousness, and laugh, and enjoy.”
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder runs at the Motyer-Fancy Theatre from October 27 to October 30, at 7:30 PM each night. You can pre-book your tickets through the Motyer-Fancy Theatre by calling (506) 364-2234 or emailing the theatre at [email protected].

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