No doubt about it Sherlock Holmes is the sleuth of the century.
On the silver screen, Robert Downey Jr. plays the private investigator as a Victorian James Bond brash, brilliant and surprisingly comfortable with fisticuffs.
BBC Americas Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a cold, clinical technophile in 21st-century London, while Elementary, which premiered in September on CBS, finds Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) solving crimes in present-day New York City with the help of his surgeon-turned-sober companion, Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).
Sheer-Luck Holmes, now playing at the Great American Melodrama in Oceano, is the latest production to bring the Great Detective to life. Unlike its peers, however, this musical spoof mines Arthur Conan Doyles stories for laughs as well as dramatic tension.
Directed and choreographed by Eric Hoit, Sheer-Luck Holmes establishes its silly yet thrilling tone in its first scene, set at Londons Royal Museum circa 1894.
Museum curator Sir George Blackstone (Billy Breed) has just deciphered the inscription on an ancient Egyptian bust of Anubis, granting him access to untold riches. No sooner has he shared his discovery with Professor Plum (Alex Sheets), however, than he collapses presumably struck dead by the curse that guards the pharaohs treasure.
Sir Georges corpse is discovered by assistant curator Adam Nevilton (Steven Freitas) and his fiancé, Eve Blakenship (Crystal Davidson), who summon Sir Georges personal physician, Dr. John Watson (DJ Canaday).
Not surprisingly, detective Sherlock Holmes (Philip David Black) is hot on Watsons heels.
He quickly deduces that Sir George was poisoned but by whom?
Did Plum or his cohort, Colonel Mustard (Sheets again) have something to do with the curators death?
A visit to Sir Georges palatial home turns up a few more suspects: Sir Georges brother, Lord Edmund Blackstone (Breed again), his ward, Gwendolyn Periwinkle (Bethany Rowe), and her gassy, kleptomaniac caretaker, Nanny Gooseberry (Jacqueline Hildebrand).
Watson quickly falls for oddball beauty Gwendolyn, but shes literally under the spell of Lord Blackstone. He plans to steal the treasure himself, provided he can get that pesky detective out of the way.
As Holmes would say, The game is afoot!
A zippy, zany comedy, Sheer-Luck Holmes is at once an affectionate sendup of Sherlock Holmes stories, and a tribute to their staying power.
Ben E. Millets script, adapted from Holmes & Watson by Peter Van Slyke, is stuffed with puns, physical comedy and pop culture references to everything from Charlie Sheen to the board game Clue. The musical numbers, meanwhile, borrow their cues from sources such as Camelot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Oliver!
No wonder the cast looks like its having fun.
Black is suitably superior as Sherlock, while Breed clearly relishes his role as the fiendish Lord Blackstone. When he launches into a villainous parody of Michael Jacksons Thriller, its impossible not to chuckle.
Rowe, for her part, consistently steals the show as a deliciously dizzy ingénue. Just wait until you see her impression of a grunting sumo wrestler!
Performances of Sheer-Luck Homes are followed by A Salute to the Film Musical, a tuneful tribute to the song-and-dance extravaganzas of yesteryear that opens with Hooray for Hollywood.