My Powers of Deduction Say … Randall Theatre is More Than Elementary
Settling in for an evening of deduction, I was ready for puzzles and intrigue. As a devout fan of BBC’s Sherlock and a reader of Sir Doyle’s original works, I was all business—there was a mystery to solve. But, Great Scott! The opening act of Holmes and Watson Save the Empire at Randall Theatre in Medford took me by surprise. Though prepared for drama, I was greeted by a silly sideshow, complete with slapstick jokes and choreographed tunes, only to find that Holmes was performing one of his great impersonations to catch a culprit.
The mystery then continued to unfold, surrounding Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the devious Professor Moriarty. Holmes (Randall’s Artistic Director Robin Downward) and Watson (Jon Oles) sift through evidence, clues and the old-fashioned Internet of reference books to discover who is trying to blackmail the Queen, and what the surreptitious information might be. Even a tune sung by Holmes and Watson speculates at “Victoria’s Secret.” (Which, by the way, is a classic mystery in history, often thought to involve a secret relationship that Queen Victoria had, and has nothing to do with the name of the lingerie line.)
Downward and Oles acted and sang together with the same ease and familiarity as is expected of the crime-fighting duo. They filled the small stage with a tangible energy that brought the musical to life in a refreshing way, especially for die-hard Sherlock Holmes fans that could use a melodious shake up to the standard Baker Street fare.
As a first-timer at the Randall, the delightfully cozy setting made for excellent theatre, and the enjoyment of the actors and other volunteer staff was evidence of a genuine love for the stage. The set was also very well done, with perfectly placed wallpaper and an extravagant three entrances/exits.
The game is on!
Holmes and Watson Save the Empire plays through February 14. For more information, visit randalltheatre.com.