The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Rated 4.0

The Children’s Theatre of California hits another one out of the park with this fine production of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Adapted by B Street Theatre’s associate producer Jerry R. Montoya, the play has plenty of action and jokes to keep the youngsters teetering at seat’s edge. There also are a few bits aimed for the grownups, like a quip about global warming and a few hits at evolution and intelligent design.

Jason Kuykendall’s Holmes is properly smug, if occasionally a bit more excitable than one might expect from the detective in the deerstalker cap. His substitution of chocolate for the infamous “seven-per-cent solution” is a nice touch, though, that leads to several good laughs. Watson, as performed by David Pierini, strikes just the right note of bluster and bafflement, while Katie Rubin (noted around town for her amazing one-woman show Insides Out!) does a good job with Miss Owens, the damsel in distress. Better yet is Rubin’s brief appearance as an old gypsy woman. It’s nothing short of hilarious, with the sort of over-the-top physical comedy Rubin does so well.

The company makes full use of the space—and the deliciously detailed, movable set—to keep the pace at a breakneck speed despite frequent scene changes. Thoughtful use of fog and lighting keeps the suspense heightened without becoming too intense for children (though the production is probably a bit much for children under five or six).

Without a doubt, the hilariously synchronized series of spit-takes in the first act would be a highlight even if it didn’t end in an all-out brawl. It’s the stuff of a fourth-grade boy’s classroom daydream—and, yes, it’s even funny for middle-aged critics. It’s not a stretch to say the youngsters weren’t the only ones giggling uncontrollably.