BWW Review: Arizona Theatre Company's HOLMES AND WATSON Is Beyond Elementary
Will the real Sherlock Holmes please stand?
In Jeffrey Hatcher's wildly enthralling and masterfully penned HOLMES AND WATSON, it falls to the discerning supersleuth's assistant and chronicler to ascertain who among three claimants to Sherlock's identity is (pardon the expression) the real McCoy. That anyone should purport to be Holmes is in itself a mystery, given that he and his nemesis, Dr. Moriarty, fell to their deaths (or did they?) at Reichenbach Falls.
The play's world premiere is both the final production of Arizona Theatre Company's 50th Anniversary Season and the swan song of David Ira Goldstein who ends his celebrated 25-year tenure as its Artistic Director.
Goldstein's brilliance and artistic vision shines through every moment of what is a thoroughly engrossing and imaginatively staged experience. It is a marvelous valedictory.
He has assembled a cast who occupy their roles with authenticity (including, thankfully, spot-on accents) and verve and who keep the audience guessing as to what new revelations may be just around the stage corner.
Jeffrey Elias Teeter adds bolts of cinematic virtue to the show with holographic projections of locomotion on rail and roiling seas that transport Watson (R. Hamilton Wright) to his ultimate destination, the island-locked Asylum off the coast of Scotland, where he has been called to meet the madhouse gatekeeper, Dr. Evans (Philip Goodwin), and the trio of Holmes-pretenders (James Michael Reilly, Noah Racey, and Remi Sandri). John Ezell's rendition of the fortress for the insane is an appropriately Gothic and forbidding wrapper for the action ahead.
All the players are in top form. Why, even the Asylum's Orderly (Stephen D'Ambrose) and Matron (Carrie Paff) give illuminating performances!
Hatcher (Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, Mr. Holmes, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) well knows his way around riddles and is a crafty manipulator of appearances. (They are, you will remember, not always what they seem.) Goldstein, cast, and crew ~ in an auspicious partnership with the playwright ~ do righteous honor to his work and advance HOLMES AND WATSON to what is indubitably an a-mazing must-see cliffhanger.
HOLMES AND WATSON continues its run at the Herberger Theater Center's Center Stage through May 28th.
Photo credit to Tim Fuller