Lovers of Sherlock Holmes – run - and fans of Lewis Carroll - gallop -to see this clever and literate play by Gus Krieger, who certainly knows his classics. Starting as a traditional Holmes mystery, where a young woman in distress asks the great detective to save her sister’s life, it quickly evolves into a whirlwind of literary nonsense. Charles Dodgson (Carroll) is apparently a murderer and Holmes, seeking to exonerate him, is drawn down the Rabbit Hole into the mad world of Wonderland. There, where logic does not exist, it’s not death he faces but the loss of his brilliant mind.
The excellent cast is led by Kevin Stidham as a young but persuasive Holmes; the always brilliant Bert Emmett as Dodgson/Carroll, and athletic whiz Timothy Portnoy as Watson. Doubling in roles are Jennifer Bronstein as Red Queen/Lillian Childress; Sean Faye as Tweedledee/ Lestrade; Michael Hoag as Tweedledum/Gregson; Andrew Graves as Mad Hatter/Bookseller; Robert Beddall as March Hare/Fruitseller; Dylan Vigus as White Knight/Constable; Dana DeRuyck as White Queen/Josephine Childress; Ulka Mohanty as Cheshire Cat/Street Singer; Louise Gassman as Knave of Hearts/Mrs. Morris; Michael Bigley as Red Knight/Constable; Amelia Gotham as Dormouse/Thimblerigger and, I think, a mystery guest.
Imaginative direction by Krieger, with assist from Jessica Patterson (costumes), Sterling Hall (lighting) and Nick Neidorf (sound). This world premiere is produced by The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company.
At the Whitmore Theatre, 11006 Magnolia Blvd, NoHo. Fri. & Sat. at 8, Sun. at 2, through September 22. Reservations: BrownPaperTickets.com or call 818-325-2055. Info: PortersofHellsgate@gmail.com.
Reviewed in the September issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.