Holmes for the Holiday Tacoma Little Theater Play Review – The Suburban Times
Question: When is a foot not a foot?
Answer: when the game is launched!
Holmes for the Holidays is a game within a game. As the curtain opens, we see the final minutes of a production featuring the character of Sherlock Holmes as he solves a crime. The actors bow and the Holmes actor sees someone in the audience pointing a gun at him. the actor is shot and we are off on a laugh-filled adventure.
Maybe the title should have been Holmes for the Dutchwoman. Hollandaise is a divine and tasty concoction, just like this latest play at the Tacoma Little Theater. Director Jen York has taken the ingredients and cooked up a great holiday deal that just might become a seasonal tradition.
It’s December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette (Dave Champagne), admired the world over for his starring role as famed London detective Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a Christmas weekend of revelry and rivalry. Gillette’s best friend describes the estate as “Where God would live if he could afford it”. There are hidden rooms, advanced electrical devices and a murder to solve. Technical Director and Resident Decorator Blake R. York and Chief Carpenter Frank Roberts have built a stunning package that looks rich and contains the latest modern features. . . and like most high-tech gadgets today, they don’t always work. Some things never change.
Master showman Gillette has not only invited his friends to the party, but also a well-known and vicious gossip columnist, Daria Chase (Danielle Locken) who ruins reputations with truth and innuendo. Daria has the ability to reach out to the dead. She leads a session, which produces surprising results.
Not everyone likes Daria. In fact, no one does. She is rude, arrogant and rubs people the wrong way. Soon, even Gillette’s half-sweet mother (Lissa Valentine) is at odds with her.
The disputes are heated and the insults fuse in the middle of a great hilarity. Even phone calls for help offer comic relief. In the midst of a storm and an intermittent power outage, the hated Daria is stabbed in the back.
As they say, a friend will help you move, but a good friend will help you move a body. Gillett’s best friend and longtime acting partner, Felix Geisel (Blake R. York), is drawn into a high-stakes game of body hiding. Like the classic 1989 movie A Weekend at Bernie’s, there aren’t too many things funnier than dragging a dead body. Felix tries to stuff Daria’s body into a closet to hide it. The body does not cooperate. Hilarity ensues. . . leaving clues. . . as the laughter continues. This sequence is priceless. Absolutely priceless.
Soon, a local police inspector (Anne Marie Rutt) arrives on the scene. There are enough twists and turns to engage everyone in the field. Who committed the murder? How many murders are there to solve? The list is lengthened increasingly. Alibis and lightning strike and fade. In the end, nothing was as it seemed.
The play is written by famed Broadway plotter Ken Ludwig. Tacoma Little Theater successfully produced its farce Lend Me Tenor a few years ago.
Dave Champagne as William Gillette takes us on a joyful chase. Blake R. York as Gillette’s Best Friend has fun body moves down to a science. Danielle Locken as the gossip closet bitch was outstanding. Heidi Walworth-Horn, Frank Roberts and Robin Mae Becar all performed killer roles. . . or did they? Women were on an equal footing with men as plotters and suspects.
Tacoma Little Theater has added an additional performance – Thursday, December 26, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. as well as a special “Pay What You Can” screening on Thursday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Holmes for the Holidays runs until December 29. For more information on tickets – tacomalittletheatre.com/blog/20192020/holmes