Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's A Study in Scarlet

Once upon a time I went to a show.  It was called A Study in Scarlet and it was about Sherlock Holmes and Watson and it was based on one of the Sherlock Holmes stories.    The story is about how Sherlock Holmes (Nick Lake) and Watson (Brian Pastor) met.  It is called Study in Scarlet because that is a line Sherlock Holmes says a lot; he calls it a study because he is just getting into the business of doing detective work because this is before Sherlock Holmes really became the Sherlock Holmes.  Scarlet is the color of blood.  It is a really bright red; when you think about blood you think about red; when you think about red you think of blood...or apples.  This is not a story about apples.  

The book is by Arthur Conan Doyle and the adaptor and the director were both Paul Edwards.  I think that he wanted to do the first Sherlock Holmes story so then people could get to know Sherlock Holmes and then if Promethean does another Sherlock Holmes story, the audience that comes to see it would know what he was like when he was young and then see him get older and older and then he is finally in the business.  He is not even in the business yet at the end because he isn't given enough credit in the paper.  In sixty years, when I am sixty-eight years old, Promethean will have done all of the Sherlock Holmes stories!

Sherlock Holmes a good person but he is also a very bad person because he always puts himself before other people.  Like Mrs. Hudson's (Elaine Carlson) terrier was dying, and he made it all better and that was by mistake and then he just killed it.  He was using the dog to do an experiment.  He thought the dog was dying, but he wasn't because he made him all better.  He figured out that this medicine that was in Stangerson's (Richard Furleigh) pocket  was actually lethal.  One of the pills actually helped, but the medicine with the chemical in it actually made people die.  He was glad that he made a discovery, but he had actually hurt two people: Mrs. Hudson and that terrier.  I like him most of the time, and then I hate him because he does some horrible things.  You like him at the end because you feel sorry that he didn't get enough credit.   You like him because he is a cool person to think about.  He is cool as a character, but I don't think you'd actually like to be friends with him.

I really wanted for Watson and Alice (Cathlyn Melvin) to get married because my mom accidentally told me that Watson met his wife in a Study in Scarlet when it was actually The Sign of Four, which is another long Sherlock Holmes story.  So, I kept thinking, "Oh, he is going to meet Alice at the court. Oh, he is going to go and investigate at her house, and then they are going to meet. Or maybe she is going to come to  Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street with her mother." I thought that Alice was very pretty and that she seemed good for Watson because they were both very civilized but they both seemed not to be helpless in many situations.  Like Alice, she didn't just let Drebber (Kevin Gladish) take her away.  She tried to fight back.   I really liked the little boy that was played by the same girl who played Alice.  She was also a little boy who liked to run around the street and worked for Sherlock Holmes.  I liked that that character was ordinary but that he still worked for Sherlock Holmes.  She was also a girl that Jefferson Hope (Dave Skvarla) was in love with.  He saved her from a herd of cattle that was going by, and then she kind of fell in love with him.

The murderer is.... Wait!  I can't tell you that!  Well, let's just call him 56 for now.  56 is the villain, but he is not exactly the villain.  He is responsible for the crimes, but the guy that he had killed actually did something horribly wrong. You kind of felt sorry for 56 because he was just getting back at a person who had killed someone he was in love with.  It is an interesting bad guy to have because 56 is not the bad guy really.  He was actually one of my favorite characters.  I think he was one of Conan Doyle's favorite characters too because he tried to make people sympathize for him.  You see that 56 is the murderer, and then he tells you his story.  That makes you feel even more sorry for him.  He was scary at first, and then you feel kind of scared for him even though he is not "the good guy."

There were two different characters who were also detectives: Inspector Lestrade (David Fink) and Inspector Gregson (Edward Kuffert). They took all the credit for themselves, even though they did nothing that was right on the case.  It made me feel like they were two-faced sons of a jackal. I loved not liking them.  I love not liking characters in plays because the shows would not be fun if they just made you like everybody.  These actors did a good job of making us not like them, like when they said, "Congratulate me!" even though the case was still not even half over.

There are many different people who read Sherlock Holmes and they all have different perspectives of if Sherlock Holmes is in love with Watson.  I think it would be pretty cool if they were in love, but it is pretty unlikely because Watson gets married to a woman.  In this play, they seemed like they had a relationship that was not actual romance.  But it did seem like they had a friendship. I think that the audience identifies with both Sherlock Holmes and Watson.  I am smart like Sherlock Holmes, but I think about people like Watson. You kind of want to be able to figure out all the things that Sherlock Holmes could, but you can't on the first time so you are more like Watson.

People who would like this show are people who like Sherlock Holmes, mystery, and having sympathy for villains.  People should go see this show because it is a great mystery and it is a great puzzler for the brain.  When you go and see this show, prepare yourself for a night of excitement!

Photos: Tom McGrath

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