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Saturday, January 21, 2023

"Ms Holmes & Ms. Watson" @ PCS

 Most incarnations of Sherlock Holmes are rather dour. Sherlock is a tortured, nearly anti-social genius. "Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson" touches upon these traits, Holmes has her trademark savant deductive-reasoning skills fully intact. She has an affinity for marijuana, as well, subbing for the usual cocaine habit, both meant to dull Sherlock's incessant deductions when they become bothersome. What's brand new in "Ms. Holmes, (other than the obvious gender-switch,) is her manic energy. It took some getting used to, but it eventually became the best part of the show. To call Ashley Song's performance "animated" is both apt and inadequate. Her "Sherlock" is kind of like what Inspector Clouseau may have been, had he been competent. 

I believe there's a classic piece of acting-advice: "to play to the back of the House," and does she ever. (Opening-Night was packed, and I had to sit Rear-Orchestra. I've sat there before, when the demands of the set required it, but I'm accustomed to front-row.) Thus, I can attest to the veracity of my previous statement. On that note, while the sightline was decent, the amplification of the dialogue wqas sorely lacking. I hope they can increase the volume.

"Ms.. Holmes" is not quite a parody, (there's too much affection for the source-material to fit that designation.) But, it is far more of a romp than is typical. If you're in the mood for a healthy dose of comedy with your Arthur Conan Doyle, this is for you.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

"The Ghost of David Balasco" @ Lakewood

 "The Ghost of David Belasco" is a pleasant farce, which fits in quite well with the kinds of shows at which Lakewood Theatre is particularly adept. I have long enjoyed mystery/ghost stories with a hefty dose of humor at Lakewood. They've had other types of shows, but it has become a bit of a trademark. An added bonus, is that this one was penned by C.S. Whitcomb, of whom I've been a fan, since seeing a Reading of "The Book of John" at Portland Center Stage's JAW Festival. Later, I was a volunteer script-reader at PCS, and had the opportunity to inquire about the fate of "Book of John." It seems that it didn't gain the traction I believed it deserved.

When Shawn Hornbeck was rescued after 4 years of captivity, the case prompted comparisons to the story of Steven Stayner, and the TV Movie, "I Know My First Name is Steven,"  also written by C.S. Whitcomb... 

Would Ms. Whitcomb be interested in lunch with a fan? 

Worth a shot.

"The Ghost of David Belasco" is a send-up of many theatre-industry conventions, and in-jokes abound. The comedy is typically fairly light, but be warned that the possessed tarp which functions as the portal to the afterlife, scared a young audience member pretty badly, so keep that in mind. 

For the rest of us, "The Ghost of David Belasco" is a welcome mild fright, on a cold wintery-night.