Shattered Illusions

Heather Jewell Headshot

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” When I first read those famous words spoken by Sherlock Holmes, my obsession with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters began. Since then, I have made it one of my life’s side quests to see every adaptation of the sleuth detective, and when I found out “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” would be brought to Columbia Theatre, I had to go. 

From a fan’s point of view, the performance was everything I had dreamed of. Direct lines were taken from the stories and in three acts the mysteries of “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” and “A Scandal in Bohemia” were solved. 

In the opening scene, I immediately began to scrutinize the actress portraying Sherlock and by the end of it, found her without flaw, while Dr. Watson brought comic relief to each act as well.

I was pleasantly surprised by the dash of playfulness woven into the performance; I always viewed the world of Holmes to be serious and mysterious, but it was incredibly refreshing to see it from that angle. The actors threw themselves into the performance with the brilliant costumes and usage of props. One thing I particularly liked was how the doors would be used as a part of the setting, but then between scenes Dr. Watson would be jumping out of the way when they were being moved around.

Seeing Irene Adler was also a treat. She was always one of my favorite characters in the books and her triumph over Holmes was as climatic on stage as it had been in the books when, like Holmes himself had done earlier, she dressed as a peddler to overhear his plans and then cheekily wished him a good night as he went into his home.

Throughout the play, the actors would also break down the fourth wall and speak to the audience; I found this further added to the charm of the production. When it came to the final scene, the show ended with the flair of hearing the next adventure would have to do with the infamous Moriarty.

For all intents and purposes, I adored every aspect of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” However, like anything, it did have its drawbacks. While reading the books or watching a show or movie remake, someone can pause and gather their thoughts to keep up with the twists, turns and quick talking of the characters involved. The production followed the normal speed of Sherlock Holmes, but in doing so did lose some audience members who I spoke to during intermission and then at the end.

Despite this one fallback however I have not stopped talking about the performance to my family, friends, boyfriend, cats Athena and Pathos and the occasional stranger in the elevator.