“Beehive” – Phoenix Theatre and “Holmes and Watson” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 15, 2017


Mainstage Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Two very different but marvelously produced local theatrical productions opened over the weekend.  A dynamically nostalgic trip back to ‘60s girl group song hits explodes at Phoenix Theatre in the entertaining “Beehive” while at the Herberger Theater Center, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s world premiere tribute to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous British detective, “Holmes and Watson,” keeps you intrigued as a succession of unexpected twists and turns results in an unforeseen finale.

With the melodic rock ‘n’ roll tunes of the ‘60s, “Beehive” enchants as the dynamic six-person cast convincingly portrays the solo singers and groups that brought female musical stars and their song hits to the popularity that had eluded these singers before this turbulent period of change.

The ensemble brings 40 songs to vivid life from a rich collection that includes “One Fine Day,” “It’s My Party,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Downtown,” “To Sir With Love,”  “”A Natural Woman,” and “Make Your Own Kind of Music” among others that represent such artists as Carole King, Lesley Gore, Tina Turner, Connie Francis, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross along with many others.  The fabulous performing ensemble bring these great artists to life in an engagingly staged and explosively choreographed production by Michael Jenkinson who brings energetic sparkle and never flagging zest to his splashy production.  Alan Ruch exuberant conducting makes the music throb with dashing pizzazz.  “Beehive” entertains mightily and continues through June 4.  To order tickets, call the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151 or order tickets online at www.phoenixtheatre.com.

Grade: A

Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

The intriguing “Holmes and Watson,” presented by Arizona Theatre Company, lets Hatcher again use the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes as his faithful sidekick John Watson explores the legend of Holmes reported death.  Watson investigates three men all claiming to be the detective and determines if they are imposters or the fabled person.  By the play’s conclusion, Hatcher answers Holmes’ fate which I won’t spoil and don’t be fooled by boastful audience members who claim as they leave the production that they figured out Holmes fate moments after the play began.  After the finale, this is an easy but unsubstantiated claim to make.  Directed with finesse and elan by David Ira Goldstein, and designed with impeccable style, a superb cast makes the play dazzle.  “Holmes and Watson” continues through May 28.  To order tickets, call the Arizona Theatre Company box office at 602-256-6995 or order tickets online at www.arizonatheatre.org.

Grade: A