HFF12: The Secret of Sherlock Holmes at Theatre Asylum

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

The following review originally appeared at L.A. Theatre Review

“…for it is the nature of biscuits to be dry, and these were biscuits to the core.” (~ Virginia Wolfe)

So it can be said for the uncanny and distinctive, external constitutions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic “consulting detective” and his stalwart, side kick in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes.

Less adventure and more psycho-drama but alas, not so much thriller as ‘elementary,’ this version of the fantastical, forensic scientist, picks apart, the self-described, very dark nature, of the man and his mind as cataloged by his natural opposite but ultimately, loyal friend, Dr. Watson. What the presentation lacked in outward intimacy, it thrived in skillful, quiet detail in the exact manner so characteristic of the hero/anti-hero we have all come to know over the years.

Tendered here are the shocking drug addictions, the mood swings, the disrespect of friends, childhood secrets and the flipside, intentional machinations of a criminal mind. And inside the psyche of London’s most methodical bohemian, evolves the most elusive question that may or may not ever be answered — is there really a Professor Moriarty at all?

Occasionally faltering in the chronicling of time, which isn’t always clear, (the play is supposed to take place over the course of 13 years), this story leaves behind all the anxiety of a typically suspenseful cliffhanger and focuses more on the repartee of narrative, deductive thought and a mostly unemotional unravelling.

Marvelous, elaborate writing. Well directed.

Theatre Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.


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