Monday, April 02, 2007

Elementary or not, pay close attention

My freelance review:
"Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" closes out the 40th season at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

I had high hopes for this show. With fond memories of last year's season closer, Agatha Christie's "Witness for the Prosecution," I was hoping for another gripping, compelling mystery.

With such high expectations, I was bound to be a bit disappointed. In fairness, though, the genres are not quite the same. What I came to appreciate from this production was that the story is less about the mystery at hand and more about the man, Sherlock Holmes.

Based on the original 1899 play by William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle, the show focuses on Holmes and his investigation involving a kidnapped damsel, a stack of scandalous letters and the menacing citizens of London's seamy underworld, including Holmes' arch-nemesis, the evil Professor Moriarty.

It was fun to watch Holmes put together what seem to be the most insignificant of clues. As Holmes, Joris Stuyck delivered a solid and enjoyable performance against Howard Kaye's Doctor Watson.

The story is one where you must provide your undivided attention. Let your mind wander for even a minute and you will be challenged to keep up. I must confess -- that happened to me.

The production values of the show were top-notch, as we come to expect from the Rep.

And such quality is likely to continue into next season. Prior to the start of the show, Artistic Director Steven Woolf thanks the audience for their patronage and announces the line-up for the Rep's 41st season. With shows including "The History Boys," "Dracula," "Tuesdays with Morrie," "Twelve Angry Men" and "Altar Boyz," I can hardly wait! Here's to the Rep!

"Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" plays through April 15.

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