“Sherlock’s Last Case” – Theatrikos Theatre Company

This review aired on KBAQ August 1, 2011


Theatrikos Theatre Company
Flagstaff, AZ

Another Sherlock Holmes murder mystery?  That’s what playwright Charles Marowitz creates in his 1984 play “Sherlock’s Last Case.”  It doesn’t exploit a tired and true story, but it uses the famous characters, relies on all the Holmes clichés in creating a far-fetched, convoluted tale that demands rapt attention to follow the multitudinous twists and turns that lead to the play’s conclusion.  Unfortunately, by the end of Act I, Marowitz tells exactly where the play is going so the ending is no surprise.

Flagstaff’s community theater, Theatrikos, mounts a minimally passable staging but since the play meanders boringly and the production never catches fire, it’s not worth a trip north to see.

While I won’t ruin the plot, it focuses on Holmes, his crime-solving partner Dr. Watson, and their unusual relationship.  Other characters appear including a faithful but lazy housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, a Scotland Yard Inspector, Lestrade, and Moriarty’s daughter, Lisa.

There’s a murder, of course, but the story takes its lethargic time before any fun or mayhem begins.  Like most Holmes mysteries, Marowitz’s play is a talky piece that plods and stumbles before it ever gets interesting.  You won’t be on the edge of your seat during the draggy first act and, since the ending is clear, even the second act sputters.

So the production is critical to make this or any Holmes script come to life.  The Theatrikos staging tries hard but the characters’ clipped, snotty British arrogance eludes the cast as they struggle with dialogue and tackle accents that never sound consistent or believable.  Since the plot wallows in unnecessary detail, it requires an energetic, quickly paced staging and directors Nick Rabe and Eric Schultz never get the production moving and unmotivated and random movements plagues it.  Live musicians add classical music between scenes but the pick-up is awful as scenes end, lights come up on the trio, and, after unpleasant pauses, music finally begins.  The music should start immediately as the scenes end to bridge the gap and keep the play moving.  A nice set for Holmes study must be shifted awkwardly twice and these scene changes further slow the production.

Neither Tony Sutera’s Holmes nor Stan Sutherland’s Dr. Watson seem natural.  Both actors are stilted and seem uncomfortable with the crisp British characters they haven’t become.  The rest of the small cast create unpleasant caricatures but are never real people.

“Sherlock’s Last Case” sounded interesting but the play plods, reveals its conclusion too soon, and the mediocre staging don’t make it sparkle.  “Sherlock’s Last Case” plays through August 14 in the downtown Flagstaff theater.  For tickets, call the Theatrikos box office at 928-774-1662 or order tickets online at www.theatrikos.com.

Grade: D


One Response to ““Sherlock’s Last Case” – Theatrikos Theatre Company”

  1. Frances Bacon said:

    Aug 03, 11 at 15:24

    I have to disagree with Mr. Curcio. I thought the show was amazing and very well done. I loved how the set worked and that it took less the a minute and a half to change the whole set, that being accompanied by the music being play live made time fly. Everyone else in the audience seemed to be having just as good of a time as I was. The actors seemed very well rehearsed and at times I found my self forgetting I was watching a play. I would go see it every weekend if I had the means. I am not sure what show Mr. Curcio was watching but it was not the one put on by the company at Theatrikos Theatre in Flagstaff.