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Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure

Review of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure

April 27 - May 20

By Toni Massari McPherson

Playwright Steven Dietz’s “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” is your basic who-done-it featuring the masterful detective in a plot that never quite thickens.  On the other hand, Anchorage Community Theatre’s production of the play is a lot of fun to watch. Director Schatzie Schaefers has managed to mine surprising nuggets of viewing pleasure – both funny and suspenseful – from the often-told tale, despite our cultural familiarity with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.

Kevin T. Bennett’s portrayal of the great detective is both self-assured and convincing. His narrow face, his arched eyebrow, his straight-faced delivery – he looks and acts the way we’d expect Sherlock to. By sitting with his legs stretched in front of him with his ankles crossed, he even manages to lengthen his short stature into an appearance of Sherlock’s height.

In most ways, Rob Lecrone’s Dr. Watson hits all the marks as Sherlock’s trusted colleague and confidant.  His asides to the audience were very well done. However, he needs to develop some range in the wide-eyed, “I am amazed” expression he employs every time Sherlock speaks, whether the discussion is Watson’s poor shaving habits or Professor Moriarty’s murderous plans.   Toning down his facial reaction initially would make it believable later in the play.

A standout on opening night was Lindsay Lamar as Sherlock’s one true love, Irene Adler. From cryptic one-liners to emotional extremes, Lamar was spot-on. With such a strong performance, she is a perfect counterpoint to Holmes’ numerous comments about the inferiority of females.

Todd Sherwood as Professor Moriarty was a case of great casting, in both looks and demeanor. Marty Baumann, as the bombastic King of Bohemia, was a bit heavy on emotional reactions and light on lordly presence. Terence Lindeke, who played numerous parts, was funny, but several times, the thickness of his accent made him difficult to understand.

A bit player who was really interesting to watch was Daniel King as Sid Prince. Becky Sheridan’s Madge was best when she was pretending to be a maid. John Mathot’s performance as James Larrabee was uneven. Overall, as often happens on opening night, the actors relaxed and slipped more into character as the play progressed.

Set designer Brian Saylor made good use of the long narrow ACT stage. Stage left was Holmes’ study throughout the play, while, with simple adjustments, stage right alternated among a half a dozen other locations. An elevated area in the center of the stage was used as a mechanism to highlight characters being discussed by Watson and Holmes. It was also used as a bench during one of my favorite moments in the play when Holmes and Adler share a cigarette.

However, arranging the players on the long narrow stage proved to be a challenge. Several times, when multiple actors were in a scene, they stood lined up in a row talking to the audience rather than each other. If you plan to go, I encourage you to get there early so you can get a seat facing the stage, rather than sitting on the side. The small theater fills up quickly and there are times during the show when the people in the side seats are blinded by the bright spotlights.

“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” plays at the Anchorage Community Theatre at 7 pm, Fridays and weekends through Sunday, May 20.

 

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