Sunday, September 28, 2014

The 2014 Fall Shakespeare Festival: My Review Of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure

On September 26, 2014, I made my THIRD trek to the Utah Shakespeare Festival for this season, this time to see the autumn plays on their line up.
My review of Boeing, Boeing will be posted on 9/29/14.  To read it, click here.
My review of Twelfth Night was posted in June.  However, I saw the play again in August, and it was still AWESOME.  I would gladly have paid to see it yet again, but time constraints for me made this impossible.  Click here to read my review.  In fact, if you can only see one play at the fall festival, it should be Twelfth Night.  It's the best.

Also, all photos, as well as ticket info and prices, can be found at

This script was written by a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but then the the playwright made friends with Conan Doyle and the play received his blessing, even though it does go against the grain for Holmes, as he is shown to be in love in the play -- a thing that most certainly never happens in any of the tales.
The basic plot is a mesh of "A Scandal in Bohemia" with "The Final Problem," and thus it combines the first and the last of the first two sets of Holmes stories.  (It also throws in tidbits from other tales, such as lifting the opening scene of The Sign of Four, wherein Holmes is shooting cocaine out of boredom and Watson is telling him it's bad for his health.)  Fans of the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law movies will think the plot was stolen from Hollywood, but I'm pretty sure it was the other way around, as this script is roughly 100 years older.
The set for this production is lovely.  (And parts of it will definitely appeal to steampunk fans!)  The waterfall at the end is really well done.
The acting, as usual for the festival, is superb.  J. Todd Adams is Holmes and the ever-popular and incredibly talented Brian Vaughn is Watson.

Vaughn's Watson is much truer to the novels and stories; he is not like the stupid Watson made famous by the Basil Rathbone films, but much more like the Jude Law Watson.
The only problem I saw with this was that Vaughn, who could still pass for 30 if he chose to do so, played a mature Watson, while Adams, who is reportedly far past 30, played a very young Holmes.  This didn't work too well for me.
Irene Adler is played by Melinda Pfundenstein, and for once, this actually works.  Pfundenstein plays every single role as haughty, arrogant, and distant, but this really works for a cold-hearted Irene.
(Note: the director chose to have Irene's name pronounced as "eye-REEN-eee," which I've never heard before, not even among the literary upper crust at the University of Edinburgh.  I never learned why this decision was made, but it does make the name grate a bit.)

Professor Moriarty is well-played by Rick Peeples, who usually plays comic roles (he's Sir Toby in Twelfth Night).  But he fits very nicely into this part and really looks like a professor/criminal mastermind.

That's basically it.  There are no real weak spots.  It's a good play.  The whole thing stays quite true to Conan Doyle's original vision of the tales.  The set is great and the acting is very good.
It's a great mood-setter for Halloween.
Go see it!

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