Sher­lock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - FRONT PAGE -

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1/2 out of five real-life Vic­to­rian VIPs, who were friends with Co­nan Doyle, en­list the fic­tional crime-solver to help save Langtry from be­ing black­mailed over stolen let­ters from the Prince of Wales, for whom she served as semi-of­fi­cial mis­tress. The plot thick­ens, but it hardly mat­ters, as the au­di­ence is trans­ported from Baker Street and back by lo­cal de­signer Brian Per­chaluk’s im­pres­sive re­volv­ing set, which al­lows di­rec­tor James MacDon­ald ( A Few Good Men) to main­tain an un­in­ter­rupted pace in a talk-heavy pro­duc­tion. Holmes will res­cue the damsel in dis­tress with his light­ning con­tor­tions of logic and de­duc­tive rea­son­ing. He sees con­nec­tions be­tween clues but he doesn’t typ­i­cally make con­nec­tions with other peo­ple, other than his No. 1 fan Wat­son. For­gette strikes a ro­man­tic spark as Langtry be­gins to un­lock Holmes’ heart, which comes as a com­plete shock to him. Mo­ri­arty is set up as Holmes’ eter­nal ri­val, but in The Jersey Lily, Wilde proves the more chal­leng­ing com­peti­tor in their ver­bal du­els. Miller mines all of the sparkling wit of the Ir­ish play­wright, who is work­ing on a com­edy ten­ta­tively called The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Forth­right. Out­ra­geously out­fit­ted in mauve and li­lac jacket, knick­ers and cape, the long-haired Win­nipeg ac­tor nicely strikes the lan­guid pos­ing of the fa­mous he­do­nist. For­gette of­fers two strong fe­male roles. As the scan­dalous, glam­orous Langtry, Ba­jer gets roughed up — chlo­ro­formed, robbed and kid­napped — but never loses the aura of be­ing a woman not to be un­der­es­ti­mated. Sarah Con­stible brings strength and sub­stance to her role of Mrs. Tory, who is never what she seems to be. Nat­trass fills Wat­son with warmth, hu­man­ity and an ad­dic­tion to love. Gil Gar­ratt’s Mo­ri­arty has the evil mous­tache and re­quired men­ace, though the lat­ter never gets sat­is­fac­to­rily un­leashed. Ai­dan DeSalaiz is to­tally con­vinc­ing in a pair of sup­port­ing parts. Sher­lock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily re­mem­bers a time when de­tec­tive sto­ries were not about blood and bod­ies, but brains and bon mots.

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