Sherlock’s a popular guy, isn’t he? I mean everyone knows who he is, but how many people have actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels? I’m not being uppity, I never read them either. You don’t need to, because we’ve had so many adaptions over the years. There are countless movies out there about him. On TV you can watch BBC’sSherlock and never shut up about Benedict Cumberbatch or CBS’s Elementary and remind yourself how much you like Lucy Liu. There are many computer games featuring the famous detective. There was even a cartoon with Sherlock being resurrected to solve crimes in the 22nd Century (what?). And there are plays, one of them being Sherlock’s Last Case, which is currently being put on by the Kinetic Theatre Company.
In most of these adaptions you see the same things: Holmes is a brilliant but obnoxious detective who solves difficult cases with the help of an assistant, Dr. Watson. While Watson himself is intelligent, he is constantly made to be the fool in the presence of the great detective. Sherlock is known to be a bit of an ass to everyone, whether they are his clients or his housekeeper Mrs. Hudson. If you’re a fan then you find this attitude charming in a sort of “love-to-hate” kind of way.
It is difficult to get into the play without revealing what happens, so I’ll be annoyingly vague. As the Last Case begins it seems to be a fairly cut-and-dry Sherlock case. The great detective has his fame and his success, but has been in a lull lately. He receives a warning note from the son of his arch enemy Moriarty which throws a few events into action. What happens next is…unexpected…and that’s all I can say about it.
So let’s just talk about the production. Director Andrew Paul assembled a nice cast, led by David Whalen as the detective. Sherlock seems to have great charisma but is still the same pompous know-it-all who expresses little concern for anyone. The humor in the play comes from a lot of Sherlock’s cruel words, and Whalen plays it off in a lovable way. As his often put-upon sidekick Watson, Simon Bradbury has a tall order to fill and fills it exceptionally well. The play shows a side of Watson not often seen, which provides a nice change of pace.
Sherlock’s office setting is charming but a bit dry, a good aesthetic match for the man himself. The only other scene takes place in a dark room that features a chair hit with some nice foggy back-lighting (I’m such a sucker for dramatic back-lighting). The production also pulls off a few unexpected technical bits I wasn’t prepared to see, so bravo to them for that.
The whole feel of the show may have a “aren’t we British and fun” feel, but actually goes to a dark and psychologically scary place (but then I watch a lot of Hannibal, so that’s me). The mature themes are cut in with great comedic performances by the whole cast, like the proud yet incompetent Inspector Lestrade (Weston Blakesley), the precious Mrs. Hudson (Susie McGregor-Laine), and the mysterious Liza (Joanna Strapp) who is quite the witty match for Sherlock. Sherlock’s Last Case is a very good show (my guest enjoyed it more than she thought she would) so I recommend checking it out. If you like it, Kinetic is doing another Sherlock classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, in 2016. It’s a saga!
Sherlock’s Last Case
Presented by Kinetic Theatre Company
Directed by Andrew Paul
Written by Charles Marowitz
Designed by Johnmichael Bohach (scenery), Keith A. Truax (lighting), Kim Brown (costumes), Anthony Stultz (sound)
Starring Simon Bradbury (Dr. Watson), David Whalen (Sherlock Holmes), Susie McGregor-Laine (Mrs. Hudson), Joanna Strapp (Liza), Weston Blakesley (Inspector Lestrade), Edgar Landudno (Sherlock Holmes Look-Alike), Roger Covivati (Damion)
Special thanks to the Kinetic Theatre Company for complimentary press tickets. The show runs until July 26th. Tickets can be purchased here.
Performance Date: Saturday, July 11, 2015