Baker Street BECKONS
The world’s favourite detective does not disappoint in theatrical mashup of Conan Doyle mysteries
THERE was never any doubt that super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes would solve the case of the Jersey Lily and again thwart archenemy Prof. Moriarty in the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre season-opener. As one of the characters says in Katie Forgette’s stylish Sherlockian adventure comedy, “It’s all about the hunt.” The game that’s afoot is not about discovering the identity of the perp, but about who will outsmart whom. The Jersey Lily pits Holmes against his greatest opponent, Moriarty, who is described as “the Napoleon of crime,” and reputed to be one of the first supervillains of fiction. He shows flashes of brilliance in Forgette’s mashup of several Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s gaslight-era tales, but hardly proves a criminal mastermind and disappoints in this theatrical showdown of literary titans. But for the most part, the night’s entertainment is saved and you can guess whodunit. In his RMTC debut, Jay Hindle presents a Holmes who is a man of mystery and fascination. With his aristocratic good looks, Hindle exudes effortless, amused intelligence and an animal lust for the chase. The nimble Vancouver performer is almost feline in his movements as he leaps upon his chaise lounge when struck by sudden flashes of manic thought. The case unfolds with Holmes holed up in his 221B Baker Street lair with Watson (played by Carson Nattrass), both of whom are out of their heads with boredom. In comes a jobseeking scullery maid whom Holmes quickly unmasks as the legendary beauty Lillie Langtry (Sharon Bajer). It is not the last time in the two-hour romp (plus intermission) that a character will pose as someone else. The meta-theatricality tops out when a character appears in drag playing a character in a play. Forgette drops a basketful of Easter eggs throughout her script for the theatre insider. With the ruse exposed, Langtry is joined by her pal, the literary dandy Oscar Wilde (Ryan James Miller). The two
Above, Jay Hindle, left, gives his Sherlock Holmes a nimble brain and an equally nimble body; Carson Nattrass is a warm Dr. Watson; top, Sharon Bajer and Ryan James Miller play real-life Victorian celebrities Lillie Langry and Oscar Wilde.