Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Secret of Sherlock Holmes

by Jeremy Paul directed by Robert Walsh at Shakespeare & Co in Lenox Ma.

Seems pointless to review something that just closed, but what the hell I spent good money on a hotel room to see the show so...

Generally I liked the script, the "secret" of the title is a bit contrived for my tastes, but the dialogue largely lifted from the original Conan-Doyle stories has an unexpected vibrancy. Doyle didn't write for the stage so it's a treat to hear his conversations recreated verbatim - who knew he could be read as actor's dialogue?
Moreover the play is a strong revisionist look at Watson and his contribution to Holmes' crimefighting crusade. That much I enjoyed, the Watson-as-Dimwit meme is very much a played out thing.
No if I have a problem with the show it lies with the casting, Michael Hammond is just too old to play Sherlock Holmes, oh he is vigorous enough, but he is balding and what remains of his hair is turning white. This contrasts poorly with David Demke's Dr. Watson who looks acts and sounds like a man in his thirties, together they are less popular literatures greatest detectives and more akin to father and son. Maybe the make-up design should have been reconsidered, bring Demke up a few years and bring Hammond down, because their acting is uniformly excellent, but they made an incongruous duo.

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