Sherlock's Last Case

Sherlock's Last Case, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday (gates open at 6:30 p.m. for picnicking); $12-$17.50. Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre, 1105 N. Main Street in Jackson; (209) 295-4499; A picnic dinner, wine, jackets, blankets, lawn chairs and mosquito repellent are suggested to bring along. Through September 7.
Rated 3.0

Arthur Conan Doyle created the enduringly popular Sherlock Holmes character in the 1880s. And as Doyle’s stories passed into public domain, others appropriated the detective to create new stories of their own, like Sherlock’s Last Case—a script written in the 1980s by American playwright and director Charles Marowitz, which enjoyed a Broadway run featuring Frank Langella as you know who. The play falls somewhere between clever spoof and affectionate fan fiction.

We can’t discuss the plot without spoiling the fun. Suffice to say that there’s a threat from the (ostensible) offspring of Holmes’ great nemesis (Professor Moriarty), a hidden dungeon and a “perfect crime.” The playwright also projects some modern psychology onto the Victorian era: Holmes (always a know-it-all) gets pretty close to insufferable in the way he lords it over others in some scenes, which contributes to the play’s outcome.

This production by Main Street Theatre Works features lots of interaction between Kevin Kirtlan (a 30-something Holmes) and Brandon Rapoza (Dr. Watson). Their relationship is illuminated in several scenes, some more successful than others. And the ladies also leave a favorable impression in their supporting parts: The estimable Kelley Ogden shines as a woman of mystery, and Georgann Wallace romps as the dowdy housekeeper Mrs. Hudson. Scott Adams rounds out the cast as the plodding Inspector Lestrade. Director Julie Anchor mitigates much of the script’s convoluted plotting and longish speeches. There are nice Victorian costumes by Nancy Street and an attractive set by Susan McCandless. And the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre continues to be a lovely venue to enjoy a show on a summer evening.