Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sleuthing and Solid Entertainment: Sherlock Holmes in Toronto to November 8 2015


Sleuthing and Solid Entertainment:
Sherlock Holmes
a new theatrical adaptation
with an original script by Greg Kramer

• Sherlock Holmes will be staged at The Ed Mirvish Theatre to Nov. 8 with performances Tuesday - Friday evenings at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. 
• On sale now, tickets range from $39.95 to $119.95 and are available online at www.mirvish.com and by phone at 1-800-461-3333 FREE.

TORONTO - The ornate David Mirvish Theatre adds to the moody atmosphere of Victorian London as portrayed in this new Canadian interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, starring David Arquette with James Maslow and Renee Olstead.

The trouble with any contemporary interpretation of Sherlock Holmes is that it first haa to fight off the spectre of other pop culture Sherlocks the audience is so familiar with; Benedict Cumerbatch and his functionally dysfunctional Holmes and Robert Downey Jr.'s more action hero take on the eccentric detective. It may take a few minutes to warm up to this comedic interpretation by David Arquette as written by Canadian playwright Greg Kramer but once you leave the comparisons behind there's much to like about his production.

David Arquette's stage version is effete on the surface, shrewd underneath, but don't expect a serious characterization of a highly realistic persona, at least for the most part. The play's rapid fire action and line delivery as the complicated murder plot unfolds give him little time to flesh out the iconic detective until the second half when Holmes has his dark night of doubt and druggie excess. Here Arquette does manage to inject a little gravitas in what is otherwise a strictly comic role in a zany, madcap mode.

The supporting cast is deep on talent, in particular James Maslow (Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush) as Dr. Watson. A real chemistry developed between his even tempered Watson and Arquette's more flamboyant Holmes.  Renee Olstead (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) fulfills her role admirably as the luminous lady in distress - who is really not so much of either, as is typical in the Holmesian cannon. Also worthy of special mention was Toronto actor Kyle Gatehouse as Moriarty - a dandy dressed in red with an appropriately demonic presence. Patrick Costello does a nice job with the hammy role of the clueless Inspector Lestrade and it was nice to see Canadian stage fixture Barbara Gordon lending her considerable talents to the role of Mrs. Hudson, Holmes' long suffering landlady. There are a whole raft of other supporting characters to flesh out the plot that escalates from a body found on the docks to touch on the opium trade.

The show delivers solid entertainment; there were guffaws from the audience and plenty of amusing moments. Production designer James Lavoie works magic with an economy of props, featuring a set up of ladders, scaffolding, screens and curtains that create various scenarios in a moody, foggy London atmosphere. Gorgeous steampunk costumes by Diane Sobers are beautifully detailed and add a great deal to the production overall. It's a fun, enjoyable evening of theatre.

Sherlock Holmes is on stage in Toronto until November 8, after which it kicks off a multi-city tour in the United States with stops in Washington, DC and Chicago, and other locales planned into 2016.

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