Local organization, the Arizona Rose Theatre Company, recently hosted several showings of its most recent original production, “Sherlock Holmes and the East Wind,” at the Temple of Music & Arts Cabaret Theatre in downtown Tucson. Based on the characters of Arthur Conan Doyle, the world of “Sherlock Holmes” is one of mystery, excitement and defied expectations.
True to the source, “Sherlock Holmes and the East Wind,” provided its own major mystery – a murder – as well as another well-crafted surprise between the play’s two acts. Without giving too much away, any who have read “The Adventure of the Empty House” or immersed themselves in Doyle’s writing may not be caught too off- guard.
The play takes place at the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris in 1915 as the dozen or so patrons and employees of the hotel go about their business. Among the guests are Dr. John Watson, played by Luke Howell, and his wife Sarah, played by Kate Scally.
No longer chronicling the adventures of the deceased Sherlock Holmes, Watson has retired to a calmer life. Watson and his wife travel to Paris to meet with their nephew George, played by Michael Howell, who is on leave from the British Army after serving in the war.
The Hotel itself is comprised of a colorful cast of employees, including the German-hating Jacques, played by Ruben Rosthenhausler; hotel custodian Rene, played by Ron Kari; and young love birds Martin and Margerite, played by Jason Schutte and Stephanie Howell, respectively.
Joining the Holmes family in their stay are American diplomatic ambassador William Henry Hunt, played by Darwin W. Hall and his assistant Ms. Elanor Ryan, played by Rachel Gigar; fleeing French aristocrat Donatien Francois de Vieux, played by Vincent Lugrine and German cabaret singer Ana Gold, played by Savannah Hicks.
The play starts off on a strong note after some deposition with a song, one of several throughout the performance. While the group songs were generally well-sung, some of the individual pieces could use some of the same polish to compare to the cast-wide performances.
In terms of performance, each of the cast members did exceptionally well staying in character, though some of the accents tended to drift towards a pseudo-Transatlantic pitch during longer scenes. While there were some disparities, Rosthenhausler’s heavy French accent remained one of the most entertaining aspects of the cast, especially when his ire turned against anything German.
The show itself was well-paced, never reaching a low point in interest, and both apexes; one at the half-way mark and the other near the end, were well-delivered and brought about a sincere sense of excitement.
Once the initial murder is made known to the guests of the hotel, the necessary investigation must begin. Though he may have been visiting family, Watson is dragged into the incident – without the help of his longtime friend and compatriot, Sherlock Holmes.
Thrown into the mix are political implications, a dish of witty investigation, lost love and a bit of gunplay – all the fixings are present for a captivating mystery. With the help of older brother Mycroft Holmes, played by Tim Foran, Watson must dig deep and put the pieces together.
With all the ingredients in-hand, the Arizona Rose Theatre Company delivered an exciting show worthy of any local stage. The company will be hosting its next show, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, April 23,24,30 and 30, as well as May 1 at the Berger Performing Arts Center, located at 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. For more information or tickets, go to www.arizonarosetheatre.com or call 888-0509.
“Sherlock Holmes and the East Wind” - 4 out of 5-stars