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Review: A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS at The Archive Theatre

Review: A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS at The Archive Theatre

This charming show brings on the holiday CHEER without screaming IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!

'Tis the Season! All the localish Texas theatres are bringing us their own flavor of holiday cheer in the form of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, A CHRISTMAS STORY, WHITE CHRISTMAS, a radio version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, HOLIDAY INN, yet another version A CHRISTMAS CAROL (stop it!) and even a play called, JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS. The Archive Theatre gives us a blessedly refreshing respite from the onslaught of a whole lot of Christmas (especially A CHRISTMAS CAROL) with an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS is, due to its charm and setting, along with a brief Christmas carol singalong, a pleasant way to ring in the season, and with blessed restraint.

The venue, the cold weather, a few carols, and the wassail proved to be quite enough to set us in the holiday mood on the evening we attended. No matter what the play, The Archive Theatre always seems to make good and full use of the ambiance at Pioneer Farms, and A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS is no exception. While it's cold outside, the sparse and utilitarian set perfectly conveys the warmth of Holmes's Baker Street home, and Davis's costuming, impeccable as always, conjures up the classic Victorian flavor of both a Holmes mystery and a classic Christmas.

We settled in with a bit of wassail under a warm heater vent, the lights went down, and we were off on a Sherlock Holmes adventure. In this case, as with all the Holmes mysteries, our story is narrated by the intrepid Dr. Watson (Amado Dehoyos). We find Holmes (Damon Brown) as the lights come up, in his sitting room contemplating a hat and, upon later discovery, a precious stone swallowed by a goose. Turns out the carbuncle in our title appears to have been stolen by John Horner (Santiago Facundo III), however, this is a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and not all is as it appears. And for those who are not familiar with The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, I'll spare you the spoilers.

Director Lynn S. Beaver, a fan of Sherlock Holmes since a teen, has smartly staged and directed this mystery, and our detective works his way through the story alongside an able cast. A dashing Damon Brown plays Holmes with a deft and clever flair. Amado Dehoyos gives us a likable and friendly Watson. Robert Stevens is engaging as a merchant on whom Holmes works his investigative mischief, and Adrianna Fontanez manages to steal a few moments as, of all things, the goose. As James Ryder, Sullivan Brown gives a dedicated performance, however, it can be difficult to understand him through his vocal pattern and dialect. Rounding out the cast are Chris Humphrey as Mrs Hudson, Jerry Brown as Peterson, Santiago Facundo III as John Horner, Christine Bush as Catherine Cusack and Mrs Oakshott, and Nathan Daniel Ford as the Magistrate. I will note on the night we attended, there were occasional pacing issues that I'm sure will clear up as the run progresses. That said, the show is indeed a charming treat from the usual holiday fare.

The folks at the Archive Theatre tell us you can "come early and enjoy the Tavern atmosphere with games, themed refreshments, live music, and interaction with the actors. You can even wear your favorite Victorian outfit and be a part of the fun."

If you're looking for an entertaining holiday show that isn't as long as the Dickens (see what I did there?) isn't another version of the usual holiday suspects, and offers just the right dose of Joyeax Noel, A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS might be the show for you. It's a quick romp through a mystery that lands a gentle lesson about the "season of forgiveness," - and if we're honest, shouldn't that be every season?


The Archive Theatre Company

Performed at Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms

Nov 17 - Dec 18, 2022, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 5 pm

Saturday, December 10 - Special showing at the Draylen Mason Studio at KMFA at 8 pm

Sunday, December 11 - Special showing at the the Draylen Mason Studio at KMFA at 8 pm

Thursday, December 15 - Free showing for the Wells Branch Community at the Wells Branch Community Center

Tickets available here.

Photo Credit Steve Rogers

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Review: A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS at The Archive TheatreReview: A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS at The Archive Theatre
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This charming show brings on the holiday CHEER without screaming IT'S CHRISTMAS!!! did our critic think of A SHERLOCK HOLMES CHRISTMAS at The Archive Theatre?

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