Adapted and Directed by Paul Edwards
Produced by Promethean Theatre Ensemble
At the Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago
“You don’t know Sherlock Holmes yet… Dr. Watson
Suspenseful first Sherlock Holmes novella marvelously comes to life at the Athenaeum Theatre
In 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduces to the world his “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes (Nick Lake) and his new sidekick, Doctor Watson (Brian Pastor). We meet the 20something’s as they first become roommates to save money and seek companionship. Watson is recovering from wounds from the Second British Afghanistan War while Holmes, ever the self-absorbed scientist, relishes on the prospect of having someone to admire his cleverness. We see the two as young gentleman filled with curiosity and determination. In a world premiere adaptation by Paul Edwards, A Study In Scarlet is a most engaging and surprising yarn.
It seems that Holmes is competing with two Scotland Yard Police Investigators to solve London murders. Inspector Lestrade (David Fink) and Investigator Greson (Edward Kuffert) each have their theories as to who and how murdered an American from Cleveland in an abandoned London flat. The mysterious murderer wrote “Rache” (German for revenge) on the wall of the victim’s room. We grow impressed with Holme’s deductive methods and his keen powers of observation as narrated by Watson. The brash Holmes and the loyal Watson easily become interesting characters struggling to solve the mystery at hand. Holmes’ cockiness is infectious. Nick Lake is terrific as the youthful Holmes while Brian Pastor, as both the story’s narrator and Holmes sidekick, is steady, articulate, and calming.
This first murder mystery has all the trade-mark twists and turns you’d expect in a Doyle mystery. It also at first contained a scathing attack on the Mormons that adapter Paul Edwards has scaled back considerably to reflect Doyle’s apology to the Mormon’s. This 90 minute thriller is nicely staged by Edwards that keeps us on the edge of our seats anticipating what will happen next. There is humor, unique twists, and many fine supporting performances to make this Sherlock Holmes mystery a fun event.
The period costumes (by Beth Laske-Miller) and the cute dog puppet almost steal the show. A Study In Scarlet is most worthy introduction to the wonders of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Nick Lake and Brian Pastor forage a partnership that endures. Hopefully, Promethean Theatre Ensemble and Paul Edwards will grace us with more Holme’s mysteries.
At the Athenaeum Theater, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago, www.prometheantheatre.org, tickets $22, Fridays 7 Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission.