MISS HOLMES Bewilders at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Get your magnifying glass and make your way over to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company as they present Miss Holmes, running now through Aug. 4.
If you're familiar with the tales of Sherlock Holmes, you'll get a kick out of the beloved characters only made better by the insanely talented and powerful women, Sara Clark and Kelly Mengelkoch, playing the iconic duo of Holmes and Watson respectively.
When the play begins, Sherlock Holmes is being released from what at that time as called an insane asylum because of her uncanny intuition. Meanwhile, Dr. Dorothy Watson is working at the only hospital in London that employs female doctors, and her colleague introduces her to Sherlock who quickly recites detailed facts about Dr. Watson's life to Dr. Watson's own amazement. Sherlock offers Dr. Watson to be her partner in her unofficial investigations, as Dr. Watson makes up for the bedside manner that Sherlock lacks, and Dr. Watson has an equally intuitive mind in the way of studying and diagnosing.
As Sherlock and Dr. Watson are discussing the partnership, a young woman arrives at Holmes' house in a panic as she has been receiving letters that she needs to be watchful of her husband, a police inspector at Scotland Yard. She is calling upon Sherlock for her aid in discovering who is sending the letters. Together, Sherlock and Dr. Watson go on a high-stakes adventure involving deaths, gunshots, inhumane treatment and more in a time where women were grossly underestimated.
With the story taking place in the 1800s, the accuracy of the fashion is somewhat imperative to transport people to the time period and costume designer Clara Jean Kelly does not miss a beat. Multiple actors are frequently switching characters in the show, and the costuming makes the navigation of it quite simple.
Mengelkoch gives Sherlock so much depth, and the audience is immediately invested in going on this adventure with her. Mengelkoch has this bewildering aura that perfectly fits the character and makes Holmes that much more intriguing. Between that and her commanding presence, you can't help but believe that she possesses this rare, deductive mind. For the majority of the second act, Sherlock undergoes something (to limit the spoilers) that leaves her going in and out of consciousness. From the way she carries herself, body movement and her verbal tacts make it disturbingly, yet remarkably realistic.
Clark plays opposite Mengelkoch perfectly as Dr. Watson, and arguably steals the show. From the minute Clark entered the stage, I was drawn to watching her. Her Dr. Watson is incredibly down to earth and level-headed, which is a perfect juxtaposition against Mengelkoch's bewildering Sherlock. It's easy to buy into the fact that Dr. Watson is the heart and moral compass of the duo with the sweet nature. Clark's chemistry with every actor on the stage is very raw and honest, especially that with Darnell Pierre Benjamin who plays Dr. Watson's love interest, Michael Stamford. The two share a lovely, gentle connection that gives audience members craving a tinge of romance their fix in this mystery.
The entire company is rich with stunningly versatile actors that bring the audience to the edge of their seats as the story unfolds before their eyes.
For those that are adventure and mystery fans, but may be squeamish like myself, this is the show for you. You'll get to have that heart-pounding thrill without seeing any blood or gore.
Don't miss your chance to see Holmes and Watson try to solve their first case as the legendary detective duo in Miss Holmes, running at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company now through Aug. 4.
For tickets and more information on the play, tap here.