Sherlock Holmes Meets Robert Louis Stevenson at the Long Beach Playhouse
The Long Beach Playhouse opens its 2018 - 2019 season with Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. The play explores the question: "What if Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective found himself in a plot inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson?"
The action takes place in the heart of London, in a windowless house where Europe's most powerful men gather to play a murderous game. Set within the historical backdrop of a fragile Europe in 1914, it raises the specter of forces within the Suicide Club that may be manipulating the deaths of prominent men in a plot that puts the fate of Europe in peril. On this particular night, the club welcomes a new member, Sherlock Holmes.
"Playhouse audiences love Sherlock Holmes," said Madison Mooney, Playhouse Executive Director. "One of the things we always consider when we choose the plays is the audience. This show combines an old favorite with a new twist. It's got all the elements one expects in a Holmes mystery but with a bit more humor and romance. I can't wait to see the audience reaction on opening night!"
Mitchell Nunn is the show's director. To say he's a theater veteran would understate the reality. His first show with the Playhouse was 1979. Since then he's directed eight and acted in more than 40 Playhouse productions. He's also acted, directed, run tech, and designed shows at more than 30 other theaters.
"In my opinion, a great production begins with the right director," said Sean Gray, Artistic Director for the Playhouse. "Choosing Mitch for the season's opening show was the right move on so many levels. The Mainstage is a unique space. Some directors struggle with the center thrust stage and the reality of having an audience on three sides. But Mitch knows what it's like to be on the stage as actor, and in the audience as a viewer. He's masterful in his use of the space, he's got great comedic timing, and the actors love working with him."
Nunn says he loves a "Who-done-it" for the intrigue, the red herrings and the delight the audience finds in trying to solve the mystery. He also noted that this is an older and wiser Holmes than we know from other stories. Inherent in this one is the question of Holmes' state of mind. What can be inferred from his involvement in a "Suicide Club?" Does he wish to die? Or are other concerns, bigger than one can imagine, causing his malaise? And can Dr. Watson save his friend from this utter doom? Nunn and the actors are determined to engage the audience in this conundrum from the first moment of the show.
Spencer Richardson brings his artistry to the set design and resident costume designer Donna Fritsche has put together costumes that will add to the visual symphony in which the story unfolds. The cast is a mix of an actor making their debut and others returning to the Playhouse. Actors returning to the Playhouse include Tim Thorn, Peter Stone, Jill Prout, Terra Taylor Knudson, William Jaramillo, Nancy Fleming, Rick Reischman, Henry Weaver, and John Russell. Debuting actor is Cruz Flores.
The play was first produced in 2011. Since then it's been nominated for the Edgar Award for best play by the Mystery Writers of America. It opens September 22 and runs through October 20, 2018.
Tickets are available at www.lbplayhouse.org, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.
Photo: Rick Reischman as Mycroft Holmes and Tim Thorn as Sherlock Holmes
Photo Credit: Mike Hardy