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Sherlock Holmes: The Crucifer of Blood
Dallas is the home of Theatre 3. It is a theatre in the round located in the Quadrangle shopping center in the Uptown area of the city. This year begins their forty-ninth season and those lucky enough to be in town August 5 through September 5, 2010 should treat themselves by attending a performance of Sherlock Holmes: The Crucifer of Blood. This is a much-staged mystery written by Paul Giovanni. I caught it last season down in Houston at the Alley Theater. I could not allow myself to miss it here in Dallas. I was a little shocked at what I witnessed!
Saturday, August 14, 2010, the night I attended, was nearly full with ages ranging from pre-teen to octogenarians. I am no prude but I was amazed during the opening scene at the Red Fort of Agra when Neville St. Claire dropped an “S” bomb. Then there came double “F” bombs. I have seen the play several times yet I cannot remember hearing such words previously. I went straight home and pulled down the 1978 Doubleday edition of the play. Sure enough on page 9 Neville St. Claire mentions the S***bucket but I still never remember hearing it. I could not find any “F” bombs in the play. The “S” bomb I can tolerate but using “F” bombs is a Sherlock Holmes play does not add anything to the performance, but I digress.
The theatre in the round works well for this production. The majority of the action takes place at the catty-corners, drifting toward the center stage area. The transitions from the Agra fort to Baker Street were somehow reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory as if some odd time warped juxtaposition occurred. It was just this Igor-looking character could be seen at the edge, laboring to turn what appeared to be a large roller-skate key. This device actually turned the gears that rotated the stage. Still, Igor looked like he belonged to Dr. Frank’s lab instead of a Holmes mystery.
The roles were filled and portrayed most adequately. Chuck Huber played Holmes with just the right amount of pawky humor one expects form this play. Dr. Watson was equally convincing, however Austin Tindle was a bit thin for my liking. Hillary Couch was very seductive as Irene St. Claire. Even with a very distracting red-splotch that resided above her left eyebrow. This was in the lace that was part of her hat but at first, it looked like a big leech stuck there. Jakie Cabe, doing his best Nigel Bruce imitation, infused his Lestrade role with enough comic relief to keep the crowd laughing the entire time he was on stage.
The rest of the cast filled in multiple roles and under the direction of Jac Alder and the overall assessment was a nice evening’s entertainment. I guess these are ought’s and what are a few “F” bombs among friends.
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