As a childhood aficionado of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I have always had great affection for the famously eccentric character and good mystery stories as well.
I know, for example, Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson” in any of the stories by Conan Doyle. I also often practiced the science of logic and deduction in a Holmsian manner, but the mud on my friend’s shoes just seemed like wet dirt. I never saw in it the evidence that he had taken the early morning train from Brighton and then sat on the left hand side of a horse-drawn carriage that brought him to my door step.
The Sherlock of the new B Street Family Series production “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” rightly assesses those clues, however, as he undertakes the strange case of stolen prehistoric dinosaur eggs.
Writer and director Jerry Montoya’s fast-paced romp across the English countryside feels like a bright, live-action Saturday morning cartoon – with an emphasis on action. Montoya’s experience with writing plays for the Family Series shows through (this is his ninth script produced here) as he’s crafted a clever, entertaining story that can hold the attention of adults and children.
Montoya starts his original Holmes story with the ending of a classic Conan Doyle tale, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” After that case is solved, we are brought back to Holmes’ apartment at 221B Baker St. where the detective immediately dives into a new mystery.
Jason Kuykendall strikes a classic Basil Rathbone-like profile as Sherlock, with Dave Pierini as a befuddled mutton-chopped Dr. Watson at his side. This Sherlock’s “seven percent solution” happens to be little chocolates he sneaks at every opportunity that Watson leaves him alone. The new case comes to Holmes through the presence of young Constance Owen (she of the early morning train) who wants Holmes to help her professor father.
Owen (Laura Baronet) and her scientist father (David Silberman) soon have Holmes and Watson at Stonehenge investigating a mysterious Druid cult. Along the way they encounter odd townspeople who have a particularly strange and hysterical reaction to the word “geese” and even stranger physical evidence that reminds Sherlock of an old truism: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Though Montoya’s story stretches both the ideas of “impossible” and “improbable,” the dexterous cast, which also includes Rick Kleber and John Lamb in several roles, makes it all enjoyable.
The production is appropriate for children 8 and older, with most of the action centered around a brief bar brawl. While handguns are occasionally drawn, they’re fired only in the shadowy opening sequence.
Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.