Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson -Apt.2B – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? But what if it is stuffed with duels and umbrellas, smoke bombs, skeletons, red herrings, assorted dead people (even in bathtubs) at least a pair of villains and a doctor with a very obvious aversion to blood? Get your magnifying glasses and finger printing kits ready for a workout as Playhouse on Park playfully produces Kate Hamill’s funny and slightly frustrating “Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson -Apt.2B” ready for clues and evidence gathering until Sunday, February 18. Be sure you get a good night’s sleep before you venture forth as the speed of the action and dialogue is full fast forward.

An American doctor desperately needs a change of scene and she innocently enters the apartment of one Sherlock Holmes, yes it can be a female name without surcombing to Shirley, to rent a space as a roommate. Kelly Letorneau’s Joan Watson is spunky and adventurous enough that she doesn’t run screaming at the first sight of adversity when the accommodating landlady Mrs. Hudson, a fast talking Megan McDermott, first opens the apartment door. The audience already knows it is in for an interesting encounter when Nick Nudler lays the groundwork for an unusual series of events soon to transpire.

Think mayhem and merriment and chaos and comedy. Enter the enigmatic master detective played by an intriguing Kirsten Peacock and the game is quite quickly afoot. Soon bodies are splayed and displayed all over London and Holmes and Watson are awash in victims with plenty of clues to examine. To add a bit of mystery to the confusion, Nudler and McDermott assume various villains from Holmes’ past to add an urgency to finding solutions. Thanks to Kelly O’Donnell’s clever direction, on Lindsey G. Fuori’s charming set, with a playroom of playful props assembled by Amber Gebert Goldsmith, in addition to a lobby full of footsteps to set up the plot, this production is delightful detective distraction.

For tickets ($42.50 for seniors, students and military on tiers, to $55.00 ), call Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford at 860- 523-5900, ext. 10 or online at Performances are Tuesday at 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. followed by a talkback with the cast.

On Sunday, February 18 from 6-9 p.m., Tracy and Darlene, two of the theater’s artistic directors, are celebrating their birthdays and you are invited. The caveat is that you must bring them a gift from the Playhouse’s Wishlist. Fun, games, food and drink will be added to a reunion cabaret performance by the original Falcetti Four, featuring Colin Britt on piano. The Playhouse is also working to meet its goal of raising $30,000 and would welcome your financial support. If you donate $5 or more in February, they will add your name to their Wall of Love.

Who said murder can’t be fun? Don your deerstalker cap and jump feet first into the fray!