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And They’re Off!

The cast and crew of Sherlock's Last Case enjoyed four solid and amply-attended performances over opening weekend, with four more weekends remaining. We also received our first review, overwhelmingly positive, from Michael Dresdner. I'll keep you up to date on the production as it continues. In the meantime, here's my director's note for the program:

Sherlock's Last Case is not part of Conan Doyle's canon. Far from it. It's a story he would never have written; but though he might've abhorred it, he might also have admired it. After all, it features mysterious ladies, cunning traps, hairbreadth escapes, and diabolical villainy, yet there's always time for a witty bon mot and a full pipe.

As a Sherlockian of long standing, I think much of the charm of Conan Doyle's classic yarns depends on the relative harmlessness of their crimes. The Master battled murderers, sure, but he was a long way from our world of al Qaeda and weaponized anthrax. Many commentators express wonder that Holmes and Watson never sought Jack the Ripper in any canonical story, but that would've been too grim by far; we prefer the minor threats of an amoral college professor or supernatural hound. Yet even in 1897, darkness was falling, and the London of gaslights and hansom cabs was about to give way to the blood-soaked twentieth century. This is a story about Watson and Holmes in their twilight.

I'm a theatre critic part-time, so it should've been nerve-wracking to direct or act in the same community where I've reviewed the labors of my peers. Lakewood Playhouse rolled out the red carpet and continually inspires me with its competence, passion, and imagination. Sherlock's cast and crew surpassed my fondest hopes, and I'm grateful to them and my long-suffering wife for helping me stage one of my dream shows. It's theirs now, and I know you're going to love it. The game is afoot!