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

Hi Zack,

I'm reading this again after seeing it almost 5 months ago. Our new Quail Ridge Books is …

by Lisa Robie Poole on Remembering Quail Ridge Books Founder Nancy Olson, a Reader's Best Friend (Arts)

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Great review! Since it was out in previous paper, how do we get this in print? Possible to order it?

by RobU on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

This show is dreadful. I watched clips of the London production which lacked the wonderful sets in the Australian production. …

by mrappleby on Love never dies, but many terrible musicals have: Sitting through Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom sequel. (Arts)

Awesome summation of the beauty and skill surrounding this tap festival! Great Job Dan!
Annabel's mom💕 …

by Dcable on Dance Review: Tap Genius Michelle Dorrance Brings It Home at the NC Rhythm Tap Festival (Arts)

Comments

Hi Zack,

I'm reading this again after seeing it almost 5 months ago. Our new Quail Ridge Books is …

by Lisa Robie Poole on Remembering Quail Ridge Books Founder Nancy Olson, a Reader's Best Friend (Arts)

Thanks RobU. This review ran online only.

by Brian Howe, INDY managing editor for arts & culture on Theater Review: Three Shakespeare Plays Are Pared Down to a Ninety-Minute Game of Dramatic Chess in Henry VI (Arts)

Most Read

© 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