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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Archive for October, 2015

Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Tale

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Tale
Music and Lyrics by Janet Yates Vaught and Mark Friedman
Directed by Wade Hair
Starring Andrew Emory, Samantha Cardella, Anthony Marando and Angela Cotto
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL

This script is a bowl of anachronism soup, but it’s a fun bowl to swim in. Late one trick or treat night The Kids (Joshua Huff, Matthew Huff and Anna Colletto) make one last stop at the abandoned creepy house up on haunted hill. Kids in horror shows NEVER learn. The scariest part for them? The have to cross…THE SYMBOLIC BRIDGE! Yikes. They man up and woman up, cross over, and rather than getting candy, they get a story. A long, very PERSONAL story. They hoped for a Baby Ruth Bar but they got was a bracketing device role and a trip back to Sleepy Hollow, 1790. Here their cell phones don’t work, their clothes are outrageous, and it’s lucky they aren’t burnt at the stake for babbling on about Harry Potter.

When we’re not making fun of rural cultural norms there’s the timeless love story of Sleepy Hollow. Brutish Bram Bones (Marando) and fussy Ichabod Crane (Emory) tussle for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel (Cardella). She’s a looker but even better, her daddy has a nice farm with cleared land and once you’ve cleared a few hundred old growth hardwoods from a corn field, you’ll appreciate her other charms. It’s the music and lingo that’s out of time: jiving in “A Dance on Hallows Eve”, tap in Emory’s “King Ichabod Crane” and modern jazz appears when you’re not looking and Jazz hands when you are. The modern children seemed to struggle with lines, leaving the interesting stage work to the adults. Mr. Marando’s Bram seemed much too pleasant to be a really meanie, but Emory had the right level of foppishness to fit into the court of Louis the 14th. Ms. Cardella took all this in stride; she regards the men as silly boys until they’re not. There’s a vast army of small children and other supernumeraries up on stage so there’s always something happening on stage. Suitable for the young, engaging to the parent; this is a fun show with a few lumps here and there. Your takeaway may vary, but I’m not crossing any bridges when I go out for candy this week.

For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breakthrough-Theatre-of-Winter-Park/

Sweet Charity

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Sweet Charity
Book by Neil Simon
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Directed by Julie Gagne
Choreographed by Eric Yow
Musical Direction by Tim Haines
Starring Carly Skubick
Valencia College Theatre, Orlando FL

A working girl can’t ever get a break; not even on the Broadway stage. Charity Hope Valentine (Skubick) dances for money and has the worst taste in men. Her boyfriends rape her, rip her off, and rarely stick around for a second cigarette. But occasionally opportunity knocks; one night famous Italian film director Vittorio Vidal (Demi Castro) picks her up only to make her sleep in the closet when his regular girlfriend arrives unexpectedly. She gets good advice from fellow dancers Nickie (Taylor Duford) and Helena (Kisheera Victrum) but it’s no use. Even neurotic Oscar (Vincent LaVigna) can’t put up with her niceness and for a big, brassy musical, there’s a surprisingly down ending. It’s so downcast we don’t even get a blowout closing number.

Despite the down ending this is a story of endless hope in the face of bad odds. Ms. Skubick is not only bubbly and good looking; she’s an ace dancer and powerful voice. From the soft “You Should See yourself” to the stunning “If My Friends Could See Me Now” her vocal were amazing, and in duet with the nebbish Oscar their duet “I’m the Bravest Individual” cooked a powerful chemistry. Eric Yow’s choreography showcased what this cast can do; the wordless charm number “Rich Man’s Frug” was a long extended dance piece that got everyone on stage doing something or other including prizefighting, and it worked wonderfully. There was even a cool rotating stage with three faces; the backstage crew soundlessly reset each scene while the other face was in use. Here’s a show that uses every stagecraft trick successfully, seamlessly and never once giving you the idea “Oh, they’re just showing off.” And as to the ending, it’s a common complaint about this show and what I recommend as “I Love to Cry At Weddings” wraps up, close you eyes and put your fingers in your ears until the bows. Or watch it play out; how could Neil Simon be wrong?

For more information on Valencia College Theater please visit http:// http://valenciacollege.edu/artsandentertainment/Theater/schedule.cfm/

A Petrified Forest

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

A Petrified Forest
Casselberry, FL

THIS is why we can’t cast nice shows in October. Once a dead zone in the Parks and Local Arts calendars October is now the month every actor in town is guaranteed full employment so long as they are willing to slather on the fake blood and yell “Boo!” at the punters. This Forest’s scare trails are on the grave site of the long lost “Uncle Toms’ BBQ”; that’s just west of the new 436/17-92 flyover. It’s easy to miss, it took me two passes to get in the parking line. The parking lot for this show is the dustiest place in Central Florida; parking attendants wear face scarves that look more “Sand People” than “Syrian Rebel.” Wear neutral clothing; it hides the dust. The Forest in its sixth year is a popular event; a gruff Parking Captain complains about needing to get 400 cars in here and “could I park a foot or two closer?” Thank you, now move along. Once through the rather chaotic ticket line there’s a park-like enclosure with a moderately good band, some food options, lots of LED driven tchotchkes, and the real reason you came: Two different Horror Walks!

Neither “Walk” disappoints; I strongly suggest you do both of them. Just roll with the complicated entry process involving colored disks and a woman who will argue about just what “blue” is. Arguing décor with a strange woman: now THAT’S scary. The wait was reasonable, no more than at a Saturday morning Bagel shop. Walk #1starts by putting you into your own personal Auschwitz Train Car; a hefty roustabout pushes you behind the curtain where you are quickly extracted and lined up for a Disney Cruise Ship-like picture. It’s just a plus up; and if the scares don’t stick with you why would you want a murky image of yourself with four other strangers?

“A Petrified Forest” makes a bit more sense if you recall the oeuvre of 1980 through 2010 horror; I recognized a few scenes here and there but I’m no expert. But the creep / scare / intimidate ethos prevails; highlights include an entire field of “hand grown corn” infested with Steven King clones, a woman swimming in a bathtub of blood, and my favorite: a guy hiding in a hollowed out couch. Take THAT, Community Thrift! Scenes roll by quickly; it’s hard to register everything before it’s off to the next abattoir or circular saw. The expert cast knows how to position themselves in the dark and aim for maximum shrieks, scares and premenopausal pants wettings. Pro tip – if you want to avoid being targeted, hang back toward the end of your group. These guys take time to reset.

Walk Two takes a more nautical turn. Jack Sparrow’s evil twin gives instructions, and of course there’s another photo op. Once the thrills start you visit the Marie Celeste and the Titanic and The Wreck of the Hesperus as well as a whale’s skeleton. A very cool effect of green lasers and smoke makes it look like you’re walking under water, and while there’s a lot of sneaking and peaking, the cast may intimidate yo but not touch. Obviously there will be breeches of etiquette in this tight space, but a jaunty “And how are you this fine night?” from you can manage your stress. Personally, I found it a bit disconcerting to be greeted by name but that’s the gig I signed up for and if I failed to acknowledge anyone I know in real life: well, that’s how good your performance was. The Petrified Forest walk is a fun and fast moving but very small children may be scared. Parental advisory for bumps in the dark but it’s a great date night if your precious has the jumps. Just wear comfortable closed shoes and don’t pop for this if you are terribly claustrophobic.


For more information please visit: www.apetrifiedforest.com

Hair

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Hair
Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed and choreographed by Earl D. Weaver
Musical direction by Pati Sayer
Starring Tyler Beauregard and Christian Barba
Theatre UCF, Orlando FL

So it’s come to this, then: the grandchildren of the revolution are reconstructing the dream of their grandparents. It’s 1968 and the ideal of free love is fading to the reality of poverty, bad drugs and a war that just won’t end. Sounds a lot like today as well as any number of decades past, present and future. Central Park draws the disaffected with the promise of love, peace and understanding, and while Utopia smells sweet, you’ve never been on an HOA board, have you? Leather fringed Berger (Beauregard) leads his pack though a provocative introduction; “Hashish,” “Sodomy”, “Colored Spade,” and “Ain’t Got no Grass” pokes all the hot buttons of the day. Berger’s friend Claude (Barba) claims to be from Manchester, UK but soon he’s called out as a Flushing boy with an affected accent. Still, we love him; everybody is a character in life and it’s easier to go along than beat the blood out of the turnip of Truth. These are Rebels with a Capitol R, and their brand-new cause is love, dope and self-awareness. Pregnancy and hunger and body lice are a byproduct of this life style but no matter- there’s a War out there, and who wants to take that Magical Downer Trip? No one of course, but when Claude is called he enlists despite his anti-war cred. He’s meat for the machine, but we shed a tear when he takes the short end of a fire fight. Frankly, he’s a lousy shot but a great target.

The mix of pointless idealism and brutal reality is never stronger; we would all love to live the freedom and hedonism of these flower children yet we recognize the frailty of idealism. Claude seems the right mix of bravado and cowardice; stronger drugs or stronger balls might have allowed him to survive the war and he lacks them both. Among these dozens of patchouli infused youth I was drawn to several supporting actors. Sheila (Lindsey Wells ) wore the most sexually explicit pants ever, Ambisexual Woof (Gabe Freidman) looked exactly like Russ Mael from Sparks and actually humped a poster of Mick Jagger on stage. The leader of the redundant “‘Colored Spade” Hud (Raleigh Mosley) sported an afro the likes I haven’t seen in 30 years. I really hope all the afros on stage were real; its one of the few hair fashion I really miss.

When this show isn’t poking a stick in the ant hill of outdated prejudice, it does show us what we could have been. I give director Weaver points for not pulling his punches on the nude scene ending Act One. Other shows have wimped out and if you are going to do nudity just do the damn nudity even if it offends. The student seated next to me was properly horrified; she said “but those are my friends!” I don’t really want to see that many of my friends naked, but there it is: A commitment to the show. There was an eight piece band on stage, and the hits were hits we already know: “Aquarius”, “Sodomy”, “I Believe” and “Good Moring Starshine” were excellent but the final number “The Flesh Failures (Let the Suns Shine In)” is the ultimate cries of misery over the inevitable. We loved Claude, each in our own ways, and now his name is one of fifty thousand engraved on a dreary memorial. Any of us might end there any day now, so enjoy your friends while you can.

For more information on Theatre UCF visit http://www.theatre.ucf.edu

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum

Monday, October 19th, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum
Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Kerry Geise
Starring David Kay, Emile Doles, Theresa Smith-Levin
Theater at the J, Maitland FL

Yes, indeed, it’s “Comedy, Tonight!” We overcome an underwhelming start as Pseudolus (Kay) jumps on stage in street clothes followed by the the bickering Proteans (Ayden Geise and Sloan Friedman), but have no fear; there are costumes and a set and some of the dancing girls and boys are a bit more than hot.

You may have heard of this show; it’s Sondheim’s one really funny comedy brought to film in 1966 with Zero Mostel in the lead. Pseudolus (Kay) is that same conniving slave; a trope that dates back to the ancient Greeks and always provides strong comedy. He want his freedom and his master is a young and horny Hero (Doles) who’s ready to make a deal. If Pseudolus can get Hero his love Philia (Smith -Levin) he’ll earn the freedom to pay taxes and pay his own rent. The debate is shorter than Scott Walker’s campaign, and we are off to the races. Philia works for procurer Marcus Lycus (Giovanni Barrio); and she’s promised to brutal general Miles Glorious (Jason Skinner) virginity and all. Hero’s dad is middle aged Senex (Mark Davids); he’s ditched his wife Domina (Amada Hudson Giese) and is ready for some action. Senex’s other servant is the fussy and pudgy Hysterium (Isaac Markel); he ends up in bed, in drag and in trouble; all thanks to Pseudolus’ s intricate plot. Does Pseudolus win his freedom? Or does Domina castrate Senex? I won’t say, but look to the the opening song: It’s “Comedy, tonight!”

For a few years The J has kept their productions to a member’s only club and their quality suffered. Mr. Geise now takes the challenge to raise production values, bring in more professional actors and bring back outside audiences. He’s on to a good start; the cast is strong and full of local talent. Kay was a funny slave, even if he often seemed to rely on the writers to keep him out of trouble. Markel’s Hysterium was hysterical, he’s master of the slow burn. The hot babes in Marcus Lycus’s harem sparkled and while Doles and Smith-Levine were occasionally flat when apart they pulled off some decent chemistry when together. Other impressive talent included the overbearing Mr. Skinner as the violent but dim general and the exotic Barrio as the Trader Joe of sex; and Erroneous (Russel Warner) got some great dead pan laughs as he walked around the seven Roman hills seven times. This is a bawdy comedy with name recognition, and the production is significantly better than ones I’ve seen in the past. Let’s give this company some attention; it can only push them in the right direction.

For more information on shows at The J please visit OrlandoJCC.org/Theater

Bat Boy: The Musical

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Bat Boy: The Musical
Book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keeffe
Directed by Kenny Howard
Musical Direction by John DeHaas
Staring Rickey Cona, Rebecca Fischer, and Jennifer Newberry
Gen Y Productions
Presented at The Abbey, Orlando FL

Outsider in a small town? That’s a beatin’ offence, if you’re lucky enough to survive. And it gets worse if you have pointed ears, pointed teeth and ultrasonic hearing. Little Bat Boy (Cona) lives peaceably in a cave until redneck spelunkers stumble on him and he bites one. Anticoagulation is a terrible thing, and when he’s brought to the surface the local lynching committee takes him to vet Dr. Parker (William Flannigan) for a painless “Putting to sleep”. But the doc’s wife (Fischer) and daughter (Newberry) take to Bat Boy, and he’s saved for the moment. They teach him English and erudition and ball room dancing and soon he’s ready to step on to the public stage for his debut. Hope he doesn’t freak anyone out. Oops, sorry. Our bad.

While there are some outstanding numbers here I occasionally felt like I was about to hear “Superstar”. It’s not the melodies, just the intro chords. Bat Boy’s solo “Let Me Walk Among You” was somehow Christ-like in an Andrew Lloyd Webber sort of way. The music here is compelling and exciting and the story flows with amazing complexity and subtlety. Cona’s Bat Boy not only evokes sympathy, you see him as the geek kid too smart for fifth grade and suffering for it. He’s “Family Guy’s” Stewie, but with less self-confidence. Fischer and Newberry are nurturing and supportive but Flannigan is a homicidal maniac bent on destroying the boy. I wonder why? Must be some sort of plot point… His only counterweight is the Andy Griffith of a sheriff played by Michael Colavolpe. The real show stealer here is David Lee; he’s the psycho red neck rancher as well as the tent revivalist showing a surprising Christianity when he shakes Bat Boy’s hand when no one else will. Shelly falls for Bat Boy, but you know deep down its going to come to Sharks eating Jets, and their love is as doomed as Bat Boy’s political prospects. Becky Fischer is a great mom (in real life as well) and the very tall Flannigan is just the right guy for a vicious axe murderer or veterinarian run amok. This is a half-Halloween show that gives you both gore and humorous chills without beating Edgar Allen Poe to death. On stage. Again. And Again. And Again…

For more information on Gen Y productions, please visit https://www.genyproductions.me or https://www.facebook.com/Genyproductionsorlando.

For other events at The Abbey, visit http://abbeyorlando.com

Bakersfield Mist

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Bakersfield Mist
By Stephen Sacks
Directed by Matt Pfeiffer
With Anne Hering and Steve Brady
Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando FL

Is it “Art” if you like it enough to hang it on your wall; or is it “Art” because someone more important than you says so? Sad sack Maude Gutman (Hering) dumpster dives for décor; for three bucks picked up the ugliest painting this side of Art Basel. After surviving gun fire, a day in the middle of a trailer park road and a few weeks in the tackiest trailer west of the Pecos, the painting MIGHT be a gen-u-wine Jackson Pollock. World famous Art Authenticator Lionel Percy (Brady) deigns to visit dusty GPS-unacknowledged Bakersfield with the mission to authenticate or repudiate the canvas. He’s good but not infallible: can you spell “Getty Kouros?” He’s also a bit of a stuck-up ass; he belabors his credentials to the point you suspect none of them are real. Maude is certainly real: a busted marriage from an abusive husband, a son who could have been his daddy until he took the low road on the local highway; and she either quit or got fired from a bartending job for stealing a case of Jack. A stray winning Powerball high-ball sure would go down nice right about now.

At its heart, this is a culture clash story. Maude is beaten down white trash hoping for a break, Lionel a privileged demi-god with a Rolodex Obama would be jealous of. Maude needs a leg up while Lionel says “The life boat is full” even when CSI scale evidence says otherwise. Hering’s Maud had seen the flop and been to the river and while she may be uneducated she’s no dummy. She also had a cagey strategy; she plays all the low cards first but when cheap whiskey and guilt-inducing sex can’t get Lionel to budge she plays her CSI card. But damn, her attempts are heartfelt unlike Lionel’s strawman bluff. She goes to the edge to call him, and it works but just barely. Brady is dark browed and clings to his brief case like a life saver as he descends into Maude’s world, and it’s not enough to save him. His education and privilege overwhelm his factual knowledge, and his monolog about growing up and falling into the art vortex is epic. He may be a total jerk, but he OWNS the jerkiness. (Golf clap. Golf clap encore. Keep it down.)
Its two falls out of three, and winner takes nothing. Oh, did I mention the set? It looks JUST like my house. I wonder if I can buy the “Clown Tryptic” when the run is over. I’d go three….no… FIVE smackeroos. It’s THAT good.

For more information on Orlando Shakespeare Theater, visit
http://www.orlandoshakes.org

A Clockwork Orange

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

A Clockwork Orange
By Anthony Burgess
Directed by Jeremy Seghers
Choreography by William Marchante
Fight Direction by Jason Skinner
Starring Anthony Pyatt Jr.
Presented at DRIP on International Drive
Orlando FL

Wilding teens are nothing new; it was unsafe to be out in even the nicer quarters of Ancient Rome after dark. The combination of hormones, new found strength and poor parental governance leads to young men on a rampage. If you’re lucky you can direct them in to a war; if not you may end up like the victims of Alex (Pyatt) and his droogies. They live in a dystopian future that lacks the electronic toys of today but does have better drugs. Speaking a patios of English and Russian slang the boys communicate with the audience not so much with precise diction as with ill pronounced rage. After a few glasses of milk and psychoactive they head out into the night to pillage and battle other gangs. The one person Alex seems to fear is their teacher Mr. Deltoid (Scott Browning), but even that chiding isn’t enough to keep them from raping and beating an older couple (Dennis Enos and Jessica Hoehn). Soon enough Alex and his pals land in jail under the hit and miss care of a preacher (Brett Carson). Alex hears rumors of a “cure” that will let him out of jail quickly but he finds it orders of magnitude worse than any prison sentence. He’s made ill and forced to watch violent films as Evil Doctor Eric Branch orates. Soon even doc’s assistant Marcy Schwalm quits out of revulsion. Now Alex is free, only to find rejection from his family and exploitation by his old victims. There’s a flicker of hope at the bottom of the well but he may be too damaged to ever make use of it.

The Drip space is a large cavernous bar located conveniently off the loading dock next to Senior Frog’s, and finding parking in the maze of tow away zones was as dystopian as Burgess’ world. Pyatt was a great Alex: tall and thin, young and snotty, he has the Nadsat patter down. The stage fighting amazes thanks to Jason Skinner, as does Marchante’s less violent choreography. Mr. Carson was up for a rumble; he almost crashed into me during a fight; instead, he left a Brett-shaped hole in the wall. Mr. Enos played Alex’s main victim with total submission; he played a writer who has to watch his wife (Jessica Hoehn) scream in pain as she’s raped in the shadows. Mr. Branch projects with operatic intensity as Alex was “cured”; the cure takes place in a big comfy chair over stuffed with the rest of the cast. Brenna Arden did all the cute girl roles; she was equally adept as Madonna as whore.

Burgess speaks to us through the Preacher; he asks “does God prefer ‘goodness’ or ‘the choice of goodness’?” That’s more philosophy than I care for; I don’t care why you act well so long as you do. Other 1960’s ideas percolate through the story; the effect of psychedelic drugs, psychology as a real cure for mental illness and whether Alex’s actions were the fault of someone other than Alex. But the fun here is the fights; they are brutal, effective and wincing to watch. Come for the milk plus, and stay for the big chair scene. And be careful where you park; it brutal down there.

For more information on DRIP, visit Http://IloveDrip.com

Phantasmagoria VI

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Phantasmagoria VI
Created by John Didonna
Choreography by Mila Markova and Serafina Schiano
Fight Choreography by Bill Warriner
Presented at the Orlando Shakespeare Center
Orlando, FL

“Phantasmagoria” is entering its sixth year, and now I see a sub head “The Darkness Returns: -The First Chapter of Book 2.” Pretty soon they will add a sermon and a collection and Sunday school afterwards. I admired the semi-animated WW1 preshow montage that occupied us as we shuffled in. The Phantasmagoria team has endured up to the end of the war in a dive club in Berlin called “Haus of Magie.” Times are bleak; the manager of the Haus (Warriner) attempts to fire the Phantasms but they out number him, and they have swords. After some internal dissention they return to their old ways: telling stories and dancing in between. You know their motto: “Once a story is selected, it must be told, and once it starts it must be finished.”

A battle of magicians opens the journey; Cyril (Chris Pruitt) as chief phantasm takes on Jenris (Jeremy Wood) and soon dancers are appearing and disappearing in a large foot locker that can’t POSSIBLY be rigged. After all, a girl taps it to make sure. We then dive into a sea of scary tales including “The Black Cat “and “The Tale of Father Frost” and even the perennial “Sleepy Hollow” to fill the night. This show’s puppets start out simple with a sparkling Father Frost and end with a one man rig representing an ominous Grendel from “Beowulf.” It’s not as big or complex as previous puppets, but it’s just as effective. The dance numbers are highlighted with Mila Markova and her daughter Gina on the rings; Mila also did a great job on some red silks hanging from the ceiling.

After the main event three was an abridged “VIP” session outside. Here we experienced belly dancing, a cello solo, sword swallowing, fire dancing and free wine. I’m happy to report no one was injured with this dangerous mix, but it reminds us that story telling will never die. They just have to lay dormant ever so often, long enough for new ones to spawn.

For more information please visit http://www.phantasmagoriaorlando.com or www.Facebook.com/PhantasmagoriaOrlando

Sherlock in Love

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Sherlock in Love
Book, Music and Lyrics by Tony MaCaulay
Directed by Dr. Anastacia Hawkins-Smith
Choreographed by Pamela Larson
Musical Direction and Conduction by Daniel Klintworth
Starring Jason Reichman, Bryan Snyder and Kari Ryan Furr
The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, Cocoa Beach, FL

If you’re looking for a big time, big budget musical, this is your extravaganza. The Cocoa Village Playhouse is a brilliantly restored 1924 movie palace complete with a purple velvet proscenium curtain, a real fly loft, an orchestra pit and crystal chandeliers. The show presented was equally as grand in scope and intention; the cast of 57 (including dancers) looked animated and polished, and the story… Well, this is a premier of a new musical, and it might need a few nips and tucks to get the run time down and reframe some story glitches.

Today Sherlock Holmes is essentially in the public domain, so liberties may be taken and no permissions from the Doyle estate need be asked. We meet Mr. Holmes (Reichman) and his side kick Watson (Snyder); they of course fight crime as a rich man’s hobby. Watson is about to get married, and while Holmes over-protests his absence won’t be missed, one guesses otherwise. Holmes is generally uninterested in women but might consider chanteuse Nell Valentine (Furr). She seems interested in him as well; they flirt and preen but not with any real convincing steam heat. By intermission they make a pretty couple but if they didn’t get together, each would do just fine. Their relation isn’t really what makes this a must-see; that job falls to Holmes’ pursuit of Max Gregorian (Rick Roach). Max has blood on his hands and enough dirt to blackmail the royal family and he’s the guy that gets the best lighting, the best lines, and the best knives. While Reichman is technically proficient; it’s Roach that puts fire into this tale.

While act one is overly long, act two suffers from a collage-like collection of ideas. Holmes’ Opium addiction is mentioned but fails to be a significant plot point. Housekeeper Mrs. Hudson (Dorothy Wright) sings a song about Holmes and his eccentricities that belongs nearer the beginning. Most amazingly, only after Sherlock and Nell agree to a union, we discover a deep dark secret in her past; just before the final song which I regard as unfair to the audience. Midway through Act Two, Oscar Wilde (Dillon Giles) drops by to assist Homes. Wilde is a quicker wit, and Holmes carefully breaks the 4th wall to explain to him “That’s not how this works.” So, is this a Holmes parody, or a Holmes adaptation?

None of these faults are serious, they just show a script that not completely polished. There are several really great songs in “Sherlock”: “Jack the Ripper” and “I’ll Be a Lady Soon” are excellent, as is the charm song “Not Tonight, Josephine.” There are other colorful characters filling in the corners: James Spiva’s “Red” Brannigan was an excellent minor crime lord, and Sam Henderson has a minor role as the inexplicable politician Jack Craddock who belts “Great and Glorious Town.” This is a great and glorious show packed with spectacle but in need of some dusting and cleaning. With a little work is can go from goodness to greatness.

For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/HistoricCocoaVillagePlayhouse or http://www.cocoavillageplayhouse.com/