Unbound Productions, well known and well loved for its ever-popular Wicked Lit. adaptations of short stories that send shivers up the spine, explores new territory with their current production, Mystery Lit.–“Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective.” Breaking away from its formula of three short plays and three audience groups that move from place to place in the Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery, the new production scheme is a two-act play. The audience still moves around in the new venue, the Santa Anita Train Depot, guided by cast members dressed as London Bobbies who encourage and cajole the audience to step lively and to follow them.
“Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective” combines Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Red-Headed League,” and “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” into a self-described “mash-up” written by Unbound’s Executive Director, Jonathan Josephson. Three different actors perform the functions of the famed detective. Richard Large is Holmes in “The Red-headed League,” Paul Romero is Sherlock in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and Chairman Barnes is The Consulting Detective in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.” The three plays intertwine smoothly, shifting the audience attention at three different performance venues. Helping to keep the continuity going, Mr. Josephson’s conceit has the final words of the previous scene picked up by the succeeding scene, which helps a lot in keeping things straight.
Amusingly, one Dr. Watson (the very busy Joe Camareno) serves each of the Holmes incarnations, a task that has him literally running from place to place. Company veteran Eric Keitel takes on three distinct roles in the stories and makes a very powerful villain when necessary. Jena Hunt does excellent double duty as Violet Hunter in “The Copper Beeches” and Sherlock’s heartthrob Irene Adler in “A Scandal in Bohemia.”
Rounding out the cast, Robert Beddall is Inspector Lestrade; Kevin Delude is banker Alistair Merryweather; John Leslie takes on pawn shop owner Jabez Wilson and Rob the Ruffian; Aaron McGee delivers a splendid comic-opera accent as Count von Kramm and King Wilhelm; Robert Paterno as Darren, the Doctor, steps in as a vigorous substitute Watson as well as impersonating Baz, the Brute; and the ever-charming Hannah Whiteoak is more than she seems as Clara Huggins.
Under the sure-hand direction of Paul Millet, “Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective” is a crowd pleaser. The show has a fine look with scenic design and EXF by Jeff G. Rack, costumes by Christine Cover Ferro, and a splendid sound design by Drew Dalzell.
“Holmes, Sherlock and The Consulting Detective” performs Wednesdays—Sundays at 8pm through July 1 at the Santa Anita Train Depot, located adjacent to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, at 159 S. Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia.