CAT offers up clever twist on Sherlock

Central Alberta Theatre is delving into the charms of Victorian England and iconic sleuth Sherlock via their latest dinner theatre production The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes.

Performances run at the Black Knight Inn through to March 26. Dinner is at 6 p.m. with curtain at 8 p.m.

In a posh mansion called Baffleur Grange, Sherlock and his real-life creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, square off to solve a mystery. Adding to the fun is the quirky bunch they’re surrounded by including Desmond Westhaven (Geoff Tagg), his wife Abigail (Carole Forhan), their daughter Rose (Amanda McCrimmon), butler Robert Scrimshaw (Jeff Challoner) and employee Tomas Markoveitch (Jason Hlady).

Strengthening the script, penned by David Belke, is the solid cast particularly the always reliable team of CAT veterans Tagg and Forhan. Both gifted in their own right, it’s a treat to see this twosome team up in this production. Challoner, with his witty dry deliveries, is also always fun to watch and McCrimmon does a charming comic turn as Rose as does Hlady as Tomas.

Directed by Sharon-Eve Lang, the unique nature of the play stems from the inclusion of Doyle. Many of his characteristics portrayed are rooted in fact as well.

Doyle did tire of the attention his famous character Sherlock Holmes received over the years. He was always trying to point out that he did indeed write other material, and it frustrated him that folks didn’t seem to care much. They simply wanted Sherlock.

He also did have a growing interest in spiritualism and connecting with the ‘other side’ as he got older as the play points out.

Playwright Belke’s script clips along at a brisk pace during the first half and the humour is fairly consistent, but things tend to drop off in the second act. I tend to think the wordiness of the script, although cleverly written, ultimately weighs things down.

Still, the story’s originality wins the day – for the most part — with the idea of Doyle conversing, often irritably, with his imaginary ‘nemesis’ in the middle of an old-fashioned English mystery.

For tickets, check out www.blackknightinn.ca or call 403-755-6626.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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