Sherlock Holmes has always been popular but the popular fictional mystery-solver is experiencing a resurgence lately — with a series of movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and television series both on CBS in the U.S. and the BBC in Great Britain.
It speaks to the staying power of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories that they can be performed again and again in different media and still retain the mystery and surprise they did more than 100 years ago. “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,” currently playing at Schenectady Civic Players, is a good watch for a Sherlock fan.
The play picks up at the end of the Holmes and Watson partnership, with Holmes (Tom Templeton) calling Watson (Ian LaChance) over to 221B Baker St. for one last adventure. Before Watson can ask too many questions, the two are deep into a mystery involving Bohemian royalty, an opera star, a scandalous photograph and Holmes’ most devious enemy, Professor Moriarty.
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure
WHERE: Schenectady Civic Players, 12 S. Church St., Schenectady
WHEN: Through Sunday, Feb. 2
HOW MUCH: $15
MORE INFO: 382-2081, www.civicplayers.org
Aaron Holbritter has proven, time and again, he is one of the most powerful directors in the area. This is not the strongest play he’s had to work with, but he did beautiful work with what he had. His staging is always strong, and he always comes up with innovative ways to work with what other directors would deem as problems.
Holbritter always assembles a powerhouse cast for his productions, and this is no exception. Templeton is always a joy to see at work, and his Holmes is expectedly exacting and scientific, but with a surprisingly real heart.
LaChance provided both the companionship and humanity Holmes needs from his Dr. Watson, plus he also narrated the piece, without the usual confusion, or even stupidity, you sometimes see from the character. LaChance is another actor to watch for; if you see his name in a cast list, you know you’re in for an excellent performance.
Isaac Newberry’s Moriarty was a bit of a generic, moustache-twirling villain, but this is more a function of the script than his acting. It would have been interesting to see, had the script allowed, more interaction between Templeton and Newberry, with more depth, as the actors have chemistry on stage that was muted by what was written for them.
Erin Waterhouse, as Irene Adler, was stunning; it was easy to see why Sherlock would have been almost immediately taken by her. Extra kudos to her for doing her own singing for the operatic parts, which she did beautifully.
David Caso’s lighting was perfect for the show, including both the moody lighting of the London streets — enhanced by the special effects of fog — and the lighting for some of the scenes set elsewhere.
If you’re a fan of any of the current Holmes permutations, you’re going to want to catch this show for a variety of reasons: to see how it fares against your favorite Holmes, or to see how the stories measure up against the versions you know. Luckily, it’s a production you’ll walk away from having enjoyed on its own merit, as well.