Sherlock Holmes brings his deductive reasoning to 'The Final Adventure' at Arts Center

eshaw@islandpacket.comOctober 2, 2013 

R. Bruce Connelly (as Watson) and Michael Strauss (as Sherlock) appear in the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina production of "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure."

  • IF YOU GO

    WHEN: Through Oct. 20. Shows start at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.

    WHERE: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island

    COST: $44 adult regular, $31 child regular, $34 adult preview, $24 child preview. (Preview performances include any show before the first Friday of the run)

    DETAILS: Order tickets online at tickets.artshhi.com or call 843-842-2787

Sherlock Holmes: A name as iconic today as Spiderman or Harry Potter.

Yet the legendary detective didn't need to be bitten by a radioactive spider or born a wizard. He possessed superhuman deductive reasoning, which was more than enough to secure him a place in pop culture history.

In the 126 years since author Arthur Conan Doyle first created Holmes, scads of actors have taken on the role for film, TV and the stage.

We've recently seen him as the cheeky hero played by Robert Downey Jr. in two movies, as the technology-wielding detective in the U.K. TV series "Sherlock" and as a modern-day New Yorker in the U.S. crime series "Elementary."

Now, the game is afoot right here on Hilton Head Island.

Based on the original 1899 play by Doyle and William Gillette, "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure," running through Oct. 20 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, takes us back to 221B Baker St. in London in 1893.

"Things are in this story that aren't in any story," said R. Bruce Connelly, who plays Dr. Watson in "The Final Adventure."

The play takes bits and pieces from Doyle's original stories "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Final Problem," tales where Holmes helps track down an incriminating photograph for the King of Bohemia and tumbles off a cliff during a scuffle, respectively. Then there are parts that are unique to the play, like Holmes' love affair with temptress Irene Adler, which gets him tangled in the devious crime web of villain Moriarty.

In many ways, however, aspects of traditional Holmes tales remain unchanged. Dr. Watson, a lovable amateur detective, endures as Holmes' trusty sidekick. Holmes is still able to disentangle the most inextricable mysteries.

"To me, there's something fascinating and charming about Holmes being able to devilishly outwit whoever the bad guy is," said Michael Strauss, who plays Sherlock Holmes.

Director Russell Treyz agreed. "We enjoy seeing (Holmes) figure things out," he said. "Every one of us could figure out things if we were just as smart or observant as he is."

Luckily, the audience has Watson, the play's narrator and interpreter.

"I try to follow as everyone else is trying to follow. Think of me as the everyman going 'And how did you get that?'" Connelly said.

For Connelly, keeping the setting in the Victorian era gives the play an authentic, crime novel feel that is absent in modern-day interpretations.

"That time period is wonderful, when London was so dark and everyone has horse-drawn carriages," he said. "Before cars; before cellphones. You couldn't text someone and say, 'Moriarty's at the door. Run.'"

Stripped of technology, contemporary retellings and special effects, director and actors are confident that "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" has enough drama, comedy and fast-paced action to keep modern audiences entertained.

"It's an energetic show," Connelly said. "You'll come in and be challenged mentally."

Follow Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

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Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

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