Last month’s Magic Flute wasn’t a fluke: here’s another fantastically imaginative use of video projection on stage. And not just projections, but scenery, costumes and handful of props. It was not lavish, but there was the effect was hilarious excess—including a decapitated head bouncing across the stage like a basketball. As with the Flute, it worked because the visual elements were synchronized with performances by the actors that were not only spit-second accurate, but gracefully funny.
Gentleman’s Guide derives from the classic Ealing comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, which derives in turn from Roy Horniman’s 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal. The similarities are obvious: in Kind Hearts Alec Guinness plays all eight members of the D'Ascoyne family, and in Gentleman’s Guide, John Rapson plays all eight members of the D’Ysquith clan, etc. But it’s not a staged movie, but it’s own thing entirely.