The Remarkable Mister Holmes
It is surely a sign of Sherlock Holmes’ greatness as a character that he can both flourish and entertain in modernized TV adaptations, big-budget action adventures, and here, in a comic musical that still manages to convey his appeal amid the frequently broad jokes and often clever songs. The Powers That Be at North Coast Rep looked back on their history and discerned that their audiences liked both Sherlock Holmes and musicals, and so Artistic Director David Ellenstein (who also directs here) signed up Omri Schein and Daniel Lincoln to write this, the story of the time Watson left town and was replaced by his sister Sheila, who admires Holmes but sings that he is blinded by a vanity/ that borders on insanity/ you also lack humanity/ and haven't got a clue— before turning to the audience and winking, "See what I did there?" She arrives in town at the same time as several other parties: a new manager at the Hotel Magnificent, plus a religious congress and a touring jewel exhibition at said hotel. When the various clerics (all played by one actor) start turning up dead, Holmes is brought on to help with the case, Sheila very much in tow. Capable leads Bart Shatto and Sharon Rietkerk get the best and smartest of the songs, which is as it should be. (Some of the rest move the plot along and not much more.) There's probably more reliance on bawdy bits and the comedy of mispronunciation than is ideal, and the play seems much more interested in the dynamic between Holmes and Watson than the accumulation of corpses — but then, it is a comedy. Special mention must go to the the boys and girls in the band, who make themselves sound much greater than the sum of the parts.
Ongoing until Sunday, August 21, 2022