Saturday, November 24, 2012

Plain good fun: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol

One of the pleasures of Taproot Theatre is the gift of attention. Sitting in the small theater provides relief from Seattle's culture of auditory and visual bombardment. At Taproot, we strain forward to hear, lean back to laugh, and sit up to watch the actors bring the stories to life.

Last night, W and I visited Taproot for the return of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, two years after the play's debut to an enthusiastic audience. I wasn't sure what to expect though I've found Taproot's choice of plays varied and exciting in the past.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eavesdrop on the past, while truly seeing the present and anticipating the future. What have we forgotten about growing up that has informed today's choices? How are the small decisions of the day shaping the future of those we love and those who love us? Do our lives make a difference?

Sherlock Holmes gets to explore those musings in The Case of the Christmas Carol. Edward Moore convincingly centers the action, drawing us from reservation about Holmes to enjoying his humanity, surprising us with his likeability. Pam Nolte, playing Holmes' landlady, the First Spirit, and the Doctor, transitions easily from one part to another, though I occasionally found her fluttering ghostliness distracting. Stephen Grenley deserves mention for his performances in anchoring roles of Watson, Mycroft, and the Third Spirit.

With a minimal backdrop and no set changes, great costuming, and emphatic lighting, the stage came alive under the direction of Scott Nolte. The story intertwines Dicken's Christmas Carol and a reintroduction of Holmes after his reported death three years earlier. It was great fun to see "Tim" of Dickens' story, interacting with Arthur Doyle's Sherlock characters. Playright John Longenbaugh, sitting right in front of us, must have been delighted with the audience participation on Opening Night. At the end, the audience cheered the cast with two enthusiastic curtain calls.

Need something to get you in the mood for Christmas? Looking for a way to celebrate the season? If you'd relish a date night, a family outing, or just love drama, I highly recommend tickets (click here) to this production. (Save on dinner before the show as we did, started our evening with a fabulous dinner at Gorditas: we split a monstrous burrito -- and wrapped up half for leftover, too -- before heading across the street to Taproot.) HAVE FUN and enjoy the show!

Reviewer tickets provided by Taproot.

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