The game is afoot this February at Kensington Town Hall, as one of English Literature’s most recognizable figures takes the stage. Kensington Arts Theatre presents “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,” now through February 24th, 2019.
It’s nearly impossible to get through schooling without being introduced to Holmes, perhaps the world’s most famous detective. Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation caused a sensation in Victorian Britain and reached incredible levels of popularity. The character is identified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most portrayed movie character in history. Just within the last few years, there have been several successful portrayals of Holmes, including two films starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as his friend and associate Dr. Watson, and a television series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Holmes’ most distinguishing characteristic is his power of deduction. He is able to crack seemingly impossible problems with his encyclopedic knowledge. One of his most famous sayings is “when you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth.” However, he struggles with interpersonal relationships, as his intelligence often puts him on a plane most people cannot connect with. He is humanized by his relationship with Dr. Watson, who acts as the narrator for most of Holmes’ stories. “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” is no exception.
For fans of Sherlock Holmes stories, this play combines aspects of Doyle’s stories “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Final Problem,” both excellent examples of the Holmes oeuvre. Dr. Watson (Bill Hurlbut) opens the story with some rather shocking news but quickly goes back to the beginning of the events that set things into motion. Sherlock Holmes (Peter Harrold) is sitting in his study at 221 B Baker St, joined by Watson when a prowler is apprehended outside his window. It turns out that this is actually the King of Bohemia (Stephen P. Johnson), who has gotten himself into a bit of a scrape and needs Holmes’ help.
It involves one of the only people to best Holmes, and the only woman to do so, American opera singer Irene Adler (Meghan Williams Elkins). The King had a relationship with her, and she is now holding evidence of that over him and threatening to send it to his betrothed. Holmes promises to help the King with this, but that’s not his only concern. Moriarty (John Barclay Burns), who is considered by Holmes to be his match; his true nemesis has re-entered Holmes’ life and is threatening him. Intrigue abounds as Holmes encounters nefarious characters, and attempts to figure out his greatest puzzle of all: Irene Adler’s true feelings and intentions.
Kensington Arts Theatre presents an engaging and enjoyable production with this story. Director Felicity Ann Brown should be proud of striking the perfect balance of tense drama and comic notes within the piece. The show flowed seamlessly, no doubt thanks to excellent stage management by Rachel DuChateau. Harrold does very well in the title role, portraying Holmes’ idiosyncrasies but still allowing him to be liked by the audience. He is particularly charming when employing Holmes’ disguises. Hurlburt excels as Holmes’ long-suffering companion, often acting as the audience to Holmes’ explanations when he makes seemingly impossible deductions. His role as narrator is integral to the story and his warm portrayal allows the audience to come into this world. Burns is excellent as evil mastermind Moriarty; he oozes intelligence and malice. Williams-Elkins also impresses as Adler; her cool demeanor keeps the audience guessing as to her true motives until the very end.
The show is also benefited by a strong supporting cast. Johnson is absolutely hilarious as the hapless Hapsburg, the King of Bohemia. He commands the stage and inspires huge laughs. Johanna Lichtenheld, Raju Sharma, and Nick Sampson make up the rag-tag group of criminals commanded by Moriarty, and Bob Brewer rounds out the cast in two roles. The cast acts with incredible cohesion and presents a polished and impressive production.
The production is also benefited by an excellent set and costumes (costumes by Felicity Ann Brown and Rachel DuChateau), reflective of the period (Scenic Design by Mac Macleod Remy). There is also wonderful use of music in the show, including several pieces that were actually sung by Williams-Elkins herself as the opera singer Adler. Overall, it is a fantastic piece of theatre. If you are wondering if you should see it in its last weekend, the answer is “elementary, my dear Watson!”
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with one 15 minute intermission.
Advisory: There is some violence, and possible gunshots and smoke effects, so be advised. This show is recommended for audiences 16 and over.
“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” is now playing through February 24th at Kensington Town Hall. For more information on tickets for “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” click here.