|Sherlock's Veiled Secret Reviewed|
|Reviewed by Charles Prepolec|
|Before going in, I had been told that the director had taken great pains in his research. Clearly he put in more effort than the playwright, one K.C. Brown.
The unlikely premise follows the search by Holmes' daughter to discover which of three possible women in the Master's past, might be her mother. During the course of her search she is drawn into a blackmail case and a murder inquiry. The play is set in the 1920's, giving us a rather aged and infirm Holmes opposite a clearly Christie inspired 'capable young lady' . The girl, one Violet Sheridan is a sculptress on the eve of her marriage in search of her parentage to please her rather snobbish prospective in-laws. Holmes refuses to give up the identity of her mother, while attempting to bring her in on his current blackmail investigation, which she refuses.
She turns to the Canon and narrows down her list of suspects. Mrs.Cyril Morton, Irene Adler and the maid Agatha. With the aide of her dim and annoying fiancée (He blurts out "Oh, I say!" at every opportunity), she proceeds to question Mrs.Cyril Morton nee Violet Smith and is intrigued by the hints of jealousy shown towards The Woman. Assuming Irene Adler to be dead, she finds herself turning to Holmes once more. He suggests that she visit a clairvoyant to communicate with the spirit of Irene Adler.
Holmes sends her to see a mystic by the unlikely name of Turlough O'Brennan. Now this character was truly amusing. A broad Irish brogue dominated his hysterical performance. During the course of her interview with the spectres of Irene Adler and the maid Agatha, it is revealed that Agatha is her mother. Her fiancée in typical fashion drops her due to her low parentage. Now depressed, she takes up Holmes offer of the blackmail case, which by this time has turned into a murder case.
The case leads her into danger and also paints the Master as a suspect. The answers she gleaned from the seance also become suspect.The twists from this point in, are actually fairly clever, so I shall reveal no more as it may spoil this for those who like this sort of thing.
The casting was fairly sharp, and the sets were impeccable. The biggest problem was accepting the premise. The portrayal of Holmes as a fallible man with a romantic heart was also a bit much. When Irene Adler spoke from beyond the grave, she did so with a Hungarian accent. I suspect the accent was due to the fact that the actress also portrayed the other two women in Holmes' life and needed a method to differentiate them. A few lines of dialogue had me positively bursting with laughter. A line about Holmes' "Wild oats" just about did for me. Watson is absent, but Holmes refers to him as " a bounder" (?) when he reveals that the good doctor is on his
fourth or fifth honeymoon.
It wasn't exactly the best, but it was certainly well worth seeing.
Read The Calgary Herald review here.