Theater review: a threadbare Lily at Temple Theatre | Arts | Indy Week
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Theater review: a threadbare Lily at Temple Theatre

Posted by on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM

click to enlarge Betsy Henderson and David McClutchey, in SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY.
  • Betsy Henderson and David McClutchey, in SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily
★★
Temple Theatre
through Apr. 6

templeshows.com

All right, I’m convinced. There is an absolutely ripping yarn to be made from the convergence of the following characters. The first three are historical; the latter three, fictive:

  • Lillie Langtry, d.b.a. “The Jersey Lily,” renowned Victorian actress (and paramour to future King Edward VII),
  • her confidante, Irish playwright Oscar Wilde,
  • Abdul Karim, a controversial, enigmatic and decidedly personal Indian attendant to Queen Victoria,
  • arch-fiend Professor James Moriarty,
  • detective Sherlock Holmes, and 
  • his faithful, long-time associate, Dr. John Watson.

I only wish I was nearly as convinced that playwright Katie Forgette’s Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily is it. Published in 2009, one year before writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss gave the beloved Doyle detective a rich new life in contemporary London in the celebrated BBC series, Forgette’s thoroughly workmanlike efforts in this occasionally comic melodrama rarely rise above the level of fan fiction.

Instead she coasts along here, relying heavily upon character conventions already well-established for Holmes, Watson and Wilde while adding precious little to them. Such paper-thin characterizations grow tiresome well before Forgette abandons logic entirely in the low-grade skulduggery of Lily's second act.

When talents of the caliber of actors David McClutchey, Betsy Henderson and Pauline Cobrda, all long-respected, familiar names in this community of practice, cannot rescue an enterprise, it can only be considered particularly ill-advised.

Certainly we will see these stalwarts again on the regional stage. When we do, we also hope to see newcomer Jeffrey McGullion, whose sharp-eyed take on the evil Moriarty entertained as well.

Temple Theatre frequently presents dramatic work well worth the trek to Sanford. Hopefully, this threadbare Lily will prove only a momentary exception to the rule.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I think that this sequel is a good movie to watch. It is frightening and has a lot of scenes …

by Hannah James on Movie Review: Blair Witch Takes Us Back to Ground Zero of the Found-Footage Horror Explosion (Arts)

such low key, warm, psychedelic cinematography (and Naomi Watts). beautiful film. …

by aria dac on Movie Review: Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees Reduces Japanese Culture to a Backdrop for American Angst (Arts)

The opportunity to work with this event, as a volunteer behind the scenes and as a newly minted 69 year-old …

by Judy McCord on Assessing the First Outing—and the Future—of the Women's Theatre Festival (Arts)

How lucky we are to have so much talent and such wonderful performances in Durham; keep it up gang - …

by JInglesIDavis on Theater Review: Something Rotten in the State of Kansas Delights in Maccountant (Arts)

I appreciate this honest and realistic assessment of WTF 2016, and I applaud the bravery and audacity of Ashley Popio …

by RowenHaighMahoney on Assessing the First Outing—and the Future—of the Women's Theatre Festival (Arts)

Comments

I think that this sequel is a good movie to watch. It is frightening and has a lot of scenes …

by Hannah James on Movie Review: Blair Witch Takes Us Back to Ground Zero of the Found-Footage Horror Explosion (Arts)

such low key, warm, psychedelic cinematography (and Naomi Watts). beautiful film. …

by aria dac on Movie Review: Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees Reduces Japanese Culture to a Backdrop for American Angst (Arts)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation