Mysterious Laughter

Merriment and song fills Keyano Theatre as the season beings with a musical comedy

By Hanna Fridhed, Connect Contributor

Actors Gordon Roberts as Watson and Damon Calderwood as Sherlock perform on the Keyano Theatre stage during the family-friendly musical comedy-mystery: Holmes & Watson Save the Empire! on October 7. Photo by Hanna Fridhed

Actors Gordon Roberts as Watson and Damon Calderwood as Sherlock perform on the Keyano Theatre stage during the family-friendly musical comedy-mystery: Holmes & Watson Save the Empire! on October 7. Photo by Hanna Fridhed.

On a cold October evening in Fort McMurray, we are invited to travel back in time, into the living quarters of super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend and side kick Doctor Watson in late 1800’s London.

Through live music and song, we follow the duo as they work to unravel a mystery that could topple the British monarchy. Their whirlwind chase leads them on the trail of the criminal mastermind of Europe, none other than the scheming professor Moriarty and his lackeys.

On October 7, the Keyano Theatre Company 4-Play Drama Series began their 2016/17 season with a family-friendly musical comedy-mystery, Holmes & Watson Save the Empire!, a professional touring show by ACE productions that combines music and comedy in a play for the whole family.

“This is a unique yet loving tribute to the original novels, with a goofy sense of humor,” said actor Damon Calderwood, who plays Sherlock Holmes.

“If you know the books, you will definitely be able to recognize lines and historical facts”.

The lively and energetic show has been touring, on and off again, for the past four years, but this is the first time the show has ever been performed in Alberta.

During every show, a local actor is invited to play a small part. This novel idea adds some community flavour to each performance and presents an opportunity for the local arts community to experience working with professional performers.

When it was first written, Holmes & Watson only consisted of two actors on stage, but it has since been re-imagined to incorporate the two musicians who originally performed from the wings on stage as well. Several times during the play, the performers swap instruments, giving the piece a lot of interesting switches and adds variety to the show.

As the production travels from town to town, the cast and crew needs to be extremely flexible and adapt their performance to each new theatre and audience.

“Keyano Theatre is a beautiful facility, a lot bigger than most spaces we usually perform in,” said actor, pianist and director Chris Robson. “Holmes & Watson was originally performed in a small cabaret theatre”.

Holmes & Watson Save the Empire! lets the audience unwind, sit back and just enjoy the 90-minute laughter ride it presents. The show is charming and entertaining, with several nods to the original works, sprinkled with artistic interpretation and imagination.

Their play with historical anecdotes, such as Prince Albert’s carriage accident and the adventurous spirit of Queen Victoria, further adds to the amusement. The witty banter between Sherlock and Watson, played by Gordon Roberts, is quick-paced and well delivered, the actors have an endearing energy.

Holmes & Watson Save the Empire! takes to the Keyano stage three more times; October 13, 14 and 15. Tickets can be purchased at the Keyano Box Office or by visiting their webpage, www.keyano.ca.

– Connect Weekly –