BWW Review: HOLMES AND WATSON at Swift Creek Mill Theatre Fails to Achieve Liftoff
Holmes and Watson
Show, don't tell. They try to make it happen in Swift Creek Mill Theatre's "Holmes and Watson," but the script won't cooperate.
This update to the Sherlock Holmes story, penned by Conan Doyle aficionado Jeffrey Hatcher, is well set up and well plotted, with clever twists. But there is so much exposition weighing down the first half-no, three quarters-of the brief play that it never takes off.
Director John Moon tries to solve the problem-cinema-style effects illustrate some scenes as the characters narrate them, and that helps. But mostly it's talk, talk, talk.
Not much can be revealed about the story, but it's safe to tell the setup. Three years after Holmes and Moriarty have died in a fall in Switzerland, Dr. Watson is summoned to an asylum in Scotland. In attendance is Dr. Evans, who explains that three patients there claim to be Sherlock Holmes, somehow still alive, and Watson must determine which is the real detective. Joe Pabst as Watson and Richard Koch as Evans spar amusingly as the story spools out.
Also on duty are a taciturn orderly, played by Travis Williams, and an efficient matron, played by Irene Kuykendall. Both are effective in their roles. The three Holmeses are played by Daniel Moore, Axel Burtness and Jonathan Hardison; they, too, work valiantly to bring the story to life.
Joe Doran's murky lighting on Tom Width's gloomy, dungeon-like set make for a moody ambiance, and Maura Lynch Cravey's costumes are good for the period.
But there's just too much background material to grind through before we get to the flurry of surprises that bring the play to a close. "Oh, it's been a long wait," says Watson as the dénoument approaches. Amen to that.
Holmes and Watson
At Swift Creek Mill Theatre through October 12
Tickets: $40 Theater only; $58.95 Dinner & Theater; $10-$20 rush tickets available depending on availability
Info: swiftcreekmill.com or (804)748-5203
Photo credit: Robyn O'Neill