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‘Sherlock’ features a battle of wits

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By Kirsten Laskey

When I was a kid, “Clue” was my favorite board game and “Murder, She Wrote,” was one of my favorite TV shows. I loved these two forms of entertainment because they offered intrigue, a sense of danger and the key players had to use their minds to solve the mystery.

Therefore, I was delighted that Los Alamos Little Theater’s production of “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure,” combines all these elements to produce one excellent play.

The play features the one final stand between the famous detective Sherlock Holmes (Scot Johnson) and his nemesis, Moriarty (Warren Houghteling). At the beginning of the play, Holmes is bored with the current state of his life. He has no mysteries to solve and therefore has little excitement.

This all changes when the King of Bohemia (Russell Hopper) appears asking Holmes to retrieve a photograph that documents a love affair he had with the opera singer Irene Adler (Kathleen Kelly). The photograph could be very damaging to the king, who is set to marry a member of the Scandinavian royalty.

The stakes get higher when Holmes’ mortal enemy, Moriarty, also becomes interested in obtaining the photo.

Even though guns are drawn and not all the characters live to the play’s finale, there is no gore or any blood baths. Rather, the play, written by Steven Dietz, celebrates intelligence and cunningness.

I loved the battle of wits between Moriarty and Holmes and the verbal banter between Holmes and Adler.

The story feeds morsels of clues to the audience but you will always be hungry for what awaits at the next turn.

The play is set in the 1800s but the cast ensures the story isn’t old-fashioned.

Johnson nails Holmes’ wit and humor and Stuart Schaller excellently portrays Holmes’ faithful and loyal friend, Watson.

Kelly’s Adler is no wallflower. The actress shows a woman who is tough and independent. She does not need a man to rescue her, in fact, Kelly’s Adler is a woman who can take matters into her own hands.

Houghteling’s Moriarity is as slim as a stick and casts the perfect image of a villain in his mid-night black attire. Houghteling is great as he slips in and out of the darkness on the stage, calculating his evil schemes.

Another great evil-doer is Madge (Claire Singleton).

Madge offers comic relief as she squabbles with her brother, Larrabee (Larry Gibbons), and through a series of disguises, tries to outsmart Holmes.

The set of the play is beautiful and the detail is incredible. For instance, Holmes’ study is packed with a roll top desk, cluttered bookshelves and an Victrola. Another room, a local inn, is gaudy with violet flowered wallpaper and elaborately craved furniture and another scene at  a gas chamber in an old factory is blanketed in gray gloom.

It’s impressive to see the local theater company take the audience to so many places on a single, small stage.

The Los Alamos Little Theater’s production of “Sherlock” will continue to be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

There will be a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. The show will also be shown at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors and are available at CB Fox or at the door. For reservations, call 662-5493.