Among the stars of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, currently showing at Grand Canyon University's Ethington Theatre, are the crews responsible for set, lights, and wardrobe who have created atmospherics befitting a Sherlockian mystery. Costume designer Nola Yergen, hair and make-up designer Kay Gray, and scenic designer, William Symington, each merit a round of applause.

The ensemble of talented young actors in this production of the play by Steven Dietz and directed by Claude Pensis, makes for a highly suspenseful account of the (allegedly) final days of the legendary supersleuth as he confronts the double-barreled threats of Irene Adler and his ultimate nemesis, Professor Moriarty.

The tableau of Holmes's Baker Street study above which looms a dimly lit walkway and a silhouette of the London skyline is the well-crafted backdrop for the telling of this tale of twists and turns populated by the predictable cast of rogues and bobbies.

There's something Gene Wilderish about Ryan Usher whose delivery of Dietz's intricately crafted lines of Holmes's deductions (sometimes not just elementary but ridiculously absurd) is razor-sharp and tinged with almost adorable gestures. He has a keen comic sensibility and a commanding stage presence. He exudes the appropriate level of Holmesian arrogance and self-assuredness, albeit Holmes is at a moment in his life when his days are sterile and his nights vanish without note, when audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from the criminal world. It would be a more complete performance if Holmes's depression was better rendered.

William Wyss delivers a fine turn as Holmes's loyal foil, Dr. Watson, through whose narration of the circumstances leading to Holmes's perilous confrontation with Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls we are left to wonder at the fate that befalls Holmes.

Each member of the ensemble does justice to his/her respective roles ~ Keach Siriani-Madden as Moriarty, Joy Flatz as Irene Adler, Kit Boyett as James Larrabee, Brenna Warren as Madge Larrabee, Barry Brown as Sid Prince, and Zack Bender (who can roll his r's with the best of actors) as the King of Bohemia ~ and contributes fully to a thoroughly enjoyable production.

The show continues through September 7th.

Photo credit: Darryl Webb

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Herbert Paine Herb Paine is President of Paine Consulting Services, now in its twenty-sixth year of operation, specializing in organizational development, strategic planning, turnaround management, mergers, and governance. He is a nationally recognized expert on all aspects of nonprofit organization management and has consulted extensively with arts and cultural organizations on strategic positioning and branding. For more, visit

His social and political commentaries are aired monthly on KJZZ/91.5 FM, NPR’s Phoenix affiliate. Herb’s most recent acting credits include roles as Sgt. Jeff Pugliese in the National Geographic Channel’s April 2014 docudrama "Inside the Hunt for the Boston Bombers;" the King of France/Chaudron the forger/Ser Piero, DaVinci's father in Theater Works' "Finding Mona Lisa;" Inspector LeStrade in Fountain Hills Theater’s "Sherlock’s Last Case;" and Berry Bernard in the short film "Living Will."


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