Theater review: ‘Watson’ at Sacred Fools Theater
This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom.
The idea behind writer/director Jaime Robledo’s “Watson” was elementary: turn Sherlock Holmes’ companion and biographer into the hero of an all-new Holmes adventure. Developed in installments, it was also funny and inventive enough to run the gauntlet of the Sacred Fools Theater Company’s 21-week “Serial Killers” competition to become a full-fledged production last year.
“The game’s on the other foot” once more in this limited return engagement, as the loyal and practical Watson (Scott Leggett) tries to keep a dangerously unstable Holmes (Joe Fria) from self-destructing during his “final” case.
The principal cast returns with inspired irreverence and ingenuity. Holmesians will appreciate the inclusion of iconic figures from the Arthur Conan Doyle canon: Holmes’ brother Mycroft (Eric Curtis Johnson), his love interest and intellectual equal, Irene Adler (Rebecca Larsen), and of course his nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Henry Dittman, in a hilarious mix of malevolence and effete decorum).
Despite some reworking for this remount, the patchwork story still shows its episodic seams. The detective’s famous powers of deduction take a back seat to action sequences, wittily realized with physical dexterity and aided by a quartet of stagehands who become peripheral characters and reconfigure scenes from minimal props (the fistfight atop a speeding train is a hoot).
[For the record, 11:11 a.m. Aug. 4: Director Jaime Robledo's first name was incorrect in an earlier version of this review.]
–- Philip Brandes
“Watson,” Sacred Fools Theater, 660 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Ends Aug. 20. $25. (310) 281-8337 or www.sacredfools.org. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Photo: Joe Fria and Scott Leggett. Credit: Brian Taylor.