As the hero of Stage West’s latest show, Sayer Roberts has love and murder on his mind but mostly murder.In A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Roberts plays Monty Navarro, a young man of no means in Victorian England who, upon the death of his mother, learns he is really a member of the aristocratic D’Ysquith family.The family disowned Monty’s mother when she married beneath her station, but he is actually ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst. Monty sees this as an opportunity to climb social and financial ladders, but that means the other eight members of the D’Ysquith family must die.“Monty is prepared to get rid of the others in line but, at first, circumstances keep showing their hands before he actually has to do anything. Gravity, thin ice, bees, cannibals, weak hearts and even a weightlifting apparatus prevent Monty from having to use the bottle of poison he has in his pocket,” says Roberts.Steven Lutvak and Robert Feedman based their 2014 Tony Award-winning show on Roy Horniman’s 1907 novel Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal and the 1949 British film Kind Hearts and Coronets, which saw Alex Guinness play all eight members of the family who must be disposed of.The musical uses the same gimmick and in Stage West’s version, under the direction of Mark Bellamy, Tyler Murree plays the D’Ysquith clan members.The Stage West version is a Canadian regional premiere. Except for a national touring version, which played in some cities, it’s the first time it’s been mounted in Canada and with an all-Canadian cast.Roberts saw the Broadway version of A Gentleman’s Guide “just after it won all the Tonys. It was a really hot ticket. I love it because it’s an old-fashioned, classical-style musical comedy. I vowed the day I saw it, I would seek out a chance to play Monty.”As soon as Roberts was cast, he rented the 1949 film and read the book and he said they were all different in tone. The novel was serious and dark and the murders were more intentional, so there is less sympathy for Monty. But in the film, Monty was portrayed by Dennis Price as much more charming. That’s where Roberts found his inspiration.“The musical is structured to endear Monty even more right from the beginning.“What makes the musical so much fun is that all the characters are big, boisterous, bright and fun but laced into all the nonsense are some really sincere moments. I want to bring realism to those moments and that’s where the movie was an inspiration for me.“I want the audience to like Monty but I want them to have reasons other than him being the hero of the story.”Roberts spent two seasons at The Stratford Festival where he had roles in Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, The Rocky Horror Show and The Music Man.In Rocky Horror, he played Brad, the unsuspecting new groom who finds himself a prisoner in the castle of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.Roberts sees similarities between Brad and Monty.“Both men are suddenly presented with a wild new trajectory in their lives and they both dive into them cautiously at first and then fearlessly. They are on journeys of self-actualization.”Roberts’ own journey began in Vancouver in 2011 when he graduated from theatre school. He played everything from Marius in Les Miserables and Curly in Oklahoma! to the soda-jerk in Red Rock Diner and the German student in The Sound of Music.Roberts’ co-stars in A Gentleman’s Guide include Emily Dallas, Katherine Fadum, Mark Allen, Luke Marty and Elizabeth Stepkowski Tarhan.The show runs at Stage West until June 23.