Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hansom Cab Killer

Satisfying Silliness
by Jim Murchison 

If one were to believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes was a brilliant sleuth that could solve the most convoluted and complicated conundrum with simple use of the powers of observation combined with deductive reasoning and imagination.

In Chris Bange’s story of the Case of the Hansom Cab Killer, to say Sherlock is less impressive is a powerful understatement. If you are a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast in the traditional sense you should know that this is pure camp. Using three actors playing multiple characters, shadow puppets and a number of wigs, moustaches and quick wardrobe accessories the play whips along. 

Chris Bange plays Sherlock Holmes who is really a rather minor character in the play. The supporting players played by Bange, Emily Windler and Brian Kuwabara are the real drivers of the story. The story itself is not as important as the mix of Monty Python and Vaudeville styles that moves the gags along.

Dave Dawson directed the play and provided the lighting design. Although there were certainly some uneven moments the charm of the production is that it doesn’t take anything seriously, including itself. There are times of semi improvised criticism of the other characters and the actors playing them and even the production's threadbare budget. There are asides to the audience and puns that elicit laughter and groans. My favourite parts were the things that took place behind the screen: the shadow puppets and the silhouettes.

@Jim Murchison
If you like cutting edge thought provoking drama you’re in the wrong place. If you prefer fast paced silliness that you don’t need to think much about, then you’re probably right where you should be.  

runtime: approximately 80 minutes with no intermission
Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hansom Cab Killer runs at the Gladstone Theatre until October 26 

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