Josh Pulley and Karin Terry star in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” at the Driftwood Players in Edmonds. (Dale Sutton/Magic Photo)

Josh Pulley and Karin Terry star in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” at the Driftwood Players in Edmonds. (Dale Sutton/Magic Photo)

Edmonds Driftwood Players stage a Tony Award-winning play

“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is a first for a local theater company.

If you’re looking for clues to the plot of this play, look beyond its title.

The story told in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” does in fact include love and murder.

But there’s also comedy — and even song.

And there are more surprises. The 11-member Edmonds Driftwood Players cast has 74 period costumes.

“One character plays eight roles,” explained director Adam Othman.

So to the plot. When Monty Navarro, of the lower economic class, finds out that he’s eighth in line for an earldom in the D’Ysquith family, he figures his chances of outliving his predecessors are slight and sets off to, well, improve his statistical chances to become the ninth Earl of Highhurst.

“‘I’m only eight away,’ he seems to muse, ‘If something were to happen to this family…’” Othman said.

So Monty goes about trying to knock them off, with all eight characters played by the same cast member, David Roby.

“It’s very playful and fun,” Othman said. “Even though it’s about murder, it’s comical in how it’s told.”

It took 10 years for the play to make it to Broadway, but once it did, it won accolades. The play premiered on Broadway in 2013 and won four Tony Awards in 2014, including best musical.

If Othman’s name sounds familiar, it may be because he directed “Peter and the Starcatcher” at the Wade James Theatre in December.

Othman said he saw “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” when he lived in New York City.

“As soon as I heard they were doing the show, I knew it was one I wanted to direct,” he said.

Driftwood is the first local theater company to produce the play in the Northwest. This created quite the buzz among actors, who wanted to audition for roles, Othman said.

The only other time it played in the Northwest was on a national tour for the Broadway run, he said.

Othman said he was interested in directing the play because it has Agatha Christie-style mystery, and it takes place in 1909, which makes it “Downton Abbey”-esque.

Then there are the songs, with a sort of Gilbert and Sullivan-like touch, and a Monty Python-like way in which the characters die.

“It’s just a beautiful way to tell a story,” Othman said. “It’s a great way to start off the 61st season.”

The cast is a mix of Driftwood regulars, and newbies like Roby, who plays the eight family members who don’t escape the play’s murderous plot, making their first appearances.

With intermission, the play last about two hours and 40 minutes, and likely wouldn’t be appropriate for children younger than 10.

Othman said he thinks that the play is “probably one of the most cleverly written shows I’ve ever been a part of.”

But beware. There’s too much comedy to get all the jokes the first time through, Othman said.

“I think you could see it again and again and enjoy it for slightly different reasons each time.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Edmonds Driftwood Players’ “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” is showing through Sept. 29 at the Wade James Theatre, 950 Main St., Edmonds. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. General admission $28, or $25 for students, seniors and military. More at tinyurl.com/driftwoodTkx or by calling 425-774-9600.

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