Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles."

Reviewing a play feels a bit different to me than reviewing a film. Part of it has to do with being in the same room with the people you're critiquing. When reviewing a film, I don't think twice about writing that Kristen Stewart's lip-biting was a little lackluster this time around or that Nicolas Cage was a little over the top in his twenty-sixth movie of 2013. But in a play, the reality that these are people and not just performers comes into play (no pun intended). All the components of a performance are more present in live theater --the costumes, the sets, the actor's movements and thereby the directing, the lighting, the sounds, etc.-- because it's all in front of you. Ironically, it seems that while audiences believe in the reality of a film, even if it includes aliens or giant robots, a play seems somehow less real because everything is so tangible. 

However, I think that just as one does with a film or television show, one must look at how all the components of the show work together. "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" had an impressive set and the actors offered successful performances to varying degrees with Sherlock and Irene as the apexes of the cast. The script perhaps could have benefited from an acceleration in its pacing and action. The blocking might have utilized the stage more or offered more for the actors to do. But overall, it was a positive experience, especially for a local performance, which should be taken into consideration.   

Sherlock Holmes is interesting to consider as a play in itself since the character has been reincarnated so many times in other mediums recently (such as the films starring Robert Downey Jr. and the PBS show "Sherlock" with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman*) all of which put a modern spin or twist on the classic detective. So putting him in a medium that can be less visually enhanced or manipulated might feel too traditional by the standards of our Sherlock-saturated culture. 

*The frequency at which Martin Freeman is mentioned on this blog is purely (happy) happenstance. 


  1. I'm happy you took a clear stance in the 2nd and 3rd paragraph about how you feel about the play. I can only wonder if you talked about mostly other things in the Sherlock Holmes universe more than the play itself.
    Still, the comparisons you made were good. Since this play is an adaptation then it makes sense to compare them to others. And while it wasn't written in the last 10 years, it is being performed now, and so I think you are right to be able to compare current narrative methods to those used by the play.

  2. I really appreciate how you take the medium into account in so many ways. . . .