Picture London in the fog

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It is 1893, and a perpetual fog permeates the gas-lit streets of London. The sound of approaching footsteps on the cobble stoned floor echoes throughout the lonely lane, reverberating off the hollow walls of the buildings. Suddenly the silhouette of a tall, lean man steps out of the dense curtains of mist, almost like a ghost.

The man politely doffs his hat and introduces himself, “The name is Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, at your service.”

It is 1893, and a perpetual fog permeates the gas-lit streets of London. The sound of approaching footsteps on the cobble stoned floor echoes throughout the lonely lane, reverberating off the hollow walls of the buildings. Suddenly the silhouette of a tall, lean man steps out of the dense curtains of mist, almost like a ghost.

The man politely doffs his hat and introduces himself, “The name is Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, at your service.”

Ever since he first appeared in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story “A Study in Scarlet” in 1887, the great detective has become an indelible figure in pop culture, being the subject of hundreds of films and literary pastiches over the decades.

Now, the intrepid Mr. Holmes brings his powers of keen observation to San Diego courtesy of the talented crew at Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, where they are staging a production of noted playwright Steve Deitz’s “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.”

Based off of the stories “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Final Problem,” Dietz’s play follows Holmes at the end of his career as he embarks on his last great adventure.

As the play opens, we find Holmes (Kevin Rupe) in hiding from the murderous clutches of his archenemy, Professor Moriarty (Jon Agee). He is in the process of trying to capture the Professor, having finally gotten the evidence that will put him behind bars.

After this debacle is over, Holmes plans to give up the detective game, having seemingly grown bored with the rote cases he is being offered.

One night, while contemplating his future with his dear friend Dr. Watson (Symonne Still), he is visited by the King of Bohemia (Kayheen Anderson) on the eve of his wedding.

It seems that the king had a tryst with world famous opera diva Irene Adler (Eliana Payne), and she is in possession of a particularly incriminating photograph that the king fears will be used against him.

Holmes, letting his infatuation with Adler get the better of him, agrees to take the case despite Watson’s objections. Soon Moriarty becomes interested in the photograph as well, and what follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse between the two most brilliant men in the world.

“The Final Adventure” is the last production of Stagehouse Theatre’s 2017-2018 season, and they saved the best for last.

Rupe is brilliant as Holmes, and manages to breathe fresh life into the great detective’s bones, a commendable feat given the long record of esteemed actors who have come before him.

Rupe has a great command of body language and can communicate a range of emotions with the subtlest of movements, which he uses to great effect.

Agee is another standout, giving a chilling performance as Moriarty. His booming baritone punctuates every line with menace and he truly brings out the psychopath in the doctor.

As Irene Adler, Payne is perfectly sultry and commanding. Her Adler is not a damsel in distress, she is as smart as she is beautiful and is more than capable of standing toe to toe with Holmes.

Last but not least is Small who gives a charming performance as Dr. Watson. It is interesting and refreshing to see a predominantly male role given a new twist, and Small plays the bumbling doctor well.

Special mention must also be made to those behind the scenes. From the excellent scenic design by Michael McKeon, to the genius lighting design of Dean Collins, to the deft direction of Beth Duggan, the world of Victorian London comes to life.

One can almost forget that they are sitting in a crowded theatre, and believe that they are walking the misty streets of London, following the great Sherlock Holmes on his most dangerous case yet.

Further performances will be held on May 17,18, and 19 at 7:30 pm, and on May 19 at 2:30 pm.

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