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Sherlock in Love

Sherlock in Love

Book, Music and Lyrics by Tony MaCaulay

Directed by Dr. Anastacia Hawkins-Smith

Choreographed by Pamela Larson

Musical Direction and Conduction by Daniel Klintworth

Starring Jason Reichman, Bryan Snyder and Kari Ryan Furr

The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, Cocoa Beach, FL</strong>

If you’re looking for a big time, big budget musical, this is your extravaganza. The Cocoa Village Playhouse is a brilliantly restored 1924 movie palace complete with a purple velvet proscenium curtain, a real fly loft, an orchestra pit and crystal chandeliers. The show presented was equally as grand in scope and intention; the cast of 57 (including dancers) looked animated and polished, and the story… Well, this is a premier of a new musical, and it might need a few nips and tucks to get the run time down and reframe some story glitches.

Today Sherlock Holmes is essentially in the public domain, so liberties may be taken and no permissions from the Doyle estate need be asked. We meet Mr. Holmes (Reichman) and his side kick Watson (Snyder); they of course fight crime as a rich man’s hobby. Watson is about to get married, and while Holmes over-protests his absence won’t be missed, one guesses otherwise. Holmes is generally uninterested in women but might consider chanteuse Nell Valentine (Furr). She seems interested in him as well; they flirt and preen but not with any real convincing steam heat. By intermission they make a pretty couple but if they didn’t get together, each would do just fine. Their relation isn’t really what makes this a must-see; that job falls to Holmes’ pursuit of Max Gregorian (Rick Roach). Max has blood on his hands and enough dirt to blackmail the royal family and he’s the guy that gets the best lighting, the best lines, and the best knives. While Reichman is technically proficient; it’s Roach that puts fire into this tale.

While act one is overly long, act two suffers from a collage-like collection of ideas. Holmes’ Opium addiction is mentioned but fails to be a significant plot point. Housekeeper Mrs. Hudson (Dorothy Wright) sings a song about Holmes and his eccentricities that belongs nearer the beginning. Most amazingly, only after Sherlock and Nell agree to a union, we discover a deep dark secret in her past; just before the final song which I regard as unfair to the audience. Midway through Act Two, Oscar Wilde (Dillon Giles) drops by to assist Homes. Wilde is a quicker wit, and Holmes carefully breaks the 4th wall to explain to him “That’s not how this works.” So, is this a Holmes parody, or a Holmes adaptation?

None of these faults are serious, they just show a script that not completely polished. There are several really great songs in “Sherlock”: “Jack the Ripper” and “I’ll Be a Lady Soon” are excellent, as is the charm song “Not Tonight, Josephine.” There are other colorful characters filling in the corners: James Spiva’s “Red” Brannigan was an excellent minor crime lord, and Sam Henderson has a minor role as the inexplicable politician Jack Craddock who belts “Great and Glorious Town.” This is a great and glorious show packed with spectacle but in need of some dusting and cleaning. With a little work is can go from goodness to greatness.

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