Holmes & Watson – West Coast Premiere, North Coast Repertory Theatre

The Sherlock Holmes canon has evolved marvelously over the decades. There are myriad permutations and interpretations which have emanated from the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The west coast premiere of Holmes & Watson proves the malleability of the original characters, in the able hands of a more recent writer. Jeffrey Hatcher’s story is indeed satisfying and clever.

Alice Sherman, Si Osborne, Richard Baird – photo by Aaron Rumley

The seven person cast does a fine job of causing the audience to shift its suspicions frequently. Three men claim to be the real Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. Watson has been called from London to identify his sleuthing partner. Watson is ably portrayed by Richard Baird, taking the audience through the rigors of deductive reasoning. Each of the purported Sherlocks (Jacob Sidney, Drew Parker and Christopher M. Williams) brings a different persona.

The three Sherlocks, L-R: Jacob Sidney, Drew Parker, Christopher M. Williams – photo by Aaron Rumley

J. Todd Adams – photo by Aaron Rumley

Dr. Evans is the host at the Asylum on the island, providing a running narrative of the facts known and unknown. The other two cast members, J. Todd Adams and Alice Sherman, take on increasing importance as the fast-paced plot unfolds.

The relatively small stage is well conceived by set designer Marty Burnett in portraying the Scottish island location of the action. Flashbacks are supplemented by an intriguing special effect.

There are several moments of comedic relief, but the plot unfolds at a pleasant pace across the 85 minute running time. Director David Ellenstein keeps the action and delivery crisp.

The delight of having the pieces of the puzzle fit together right before the final curtain is palpable. The resolution occurs in exactly the required and satisfying structure of such mystery stories.

Ticket demand has been understandably robust, and the run has been extended.

Ticket information here.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.