MURRAY — I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so I was super excited to go see the musical melodrama Sheer-Luck Holmes, Clueless Again at Desert Star Playhouse in Murray.
The Desert Star Playhouse is a dinner theater and though it isn’t required that you order anything, most people did order something and pizza seemed to be a big dinner item. The servers were prompt but unobtrusive, and the food was tasty and decently priced. The rather large room was packed, and let me tell you, they get a lot of tables in there, on several different tiers. Parents, kids, grandparents, a middle school singing group from New Mexico—I don’t think there was an empty chair. This says something for the consistent quality of the shows at this theater, right?
I am only going to give you the highlights because:
- You really need to see this show.
- And I don’t want to spoil any of the fun.
The entire show is accompanied by Tracy H. Hales on the piano. When I say accompanied, I don’t mean only in the songs. I mean throughout the whole show, which at first was a little disconcerting. But after a while, I didn’t hear it except as a nice complement to the show. As my husband and I discussed it later, we realized the consistent music kept the show’s energy up and made it just click along. There wasn’t a slow moment in the whole show.
Sherlock Holmes, played by the show’s director, Scott Holman, has a good voice, excellent timing, and can perform comedy well. Plus, he had great chemistry with his sidekick, Dr. Watson, played by Jeff Jensen, too. The two worked well together and their duets were impressive.
But I thought that every performance was top notch. Michelle Page Dillon as Eve Blankenship is so delightful. Watch her face as she flirts and deceives all the men around her. I loved her. Then I didn’t. And that was just the way it was supposed to be. Jack Drayton as Lord Blackstone is wonderful, deliciously evil and I loved it whenever he came out onstage. Mary Parker Williams played Miss Gooseberry, a futsy old kleptomaniac. This character was one of the comic parts, and Ms. Williams pulled it off well. Samantha Bird, as the flirtatious Gwendolyn Periwinkle, was adorable and has wonderful movement. She also has one of the best voices in the cast. Finally, Corey Brandenburger as Adam Nevilton was probably the most expressive actor in the group. It’s hard to play the nerdy scapegoat, and Bradenburger does a great job.
The playwright, Ben E. Millet, has created a show that is tight, funny, current, and delightful. He has pulled in several characters from Clue including Col. D. John Mustard (say that out loud), played by J. Tyrus Williams. Professor Plum, also played by Williams, figures into the plot, too.
Many tidbits from the dialogue and lyrics from the songs bring in current celebrities like Simon Cowell, Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and Lady Gaga (who actually has “appeared” in several shows I’ve reviewed and I’ve had about enough of her). Millet also included references to The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, and other movies. I can’t describe how these all fit in and are funny, but they do and they are. There are also a few lines devoted to the LDS culture and they brought huge laughs. The show takes several pokes at the recent Sherlock Holmes movie, and it set us all to giggling.
The stage is rather small, but it doesn’t seem like it when the action flows. The costumes were garishly, charmingly appropriate. For example, the villain wore a Snidely Whiplash capes, which I just loved.
There are some flaws with this production, though. First, this is a musical, and I’ll be honest—I didn’t see the point in having songs at all. The songs were all sung well, but I didn’t see them adding a whole lot to the show. I don’t know that I’d say they need to be eliminated; I’m just not sure they’re needed. Second, there were a few inappropriate lines, which apparently is okay(?) for family-friendly shows. I did not appreciate lines about “booby traps” and humor at the expense of the character of Miss Gooseberry. The character also has frequent flatulence issues and it’s my policy that you’ve heard one fart, you’ve heard them all. Also, some of the actors were sometimes using British accents, but not consistently. It’s a minor acting issue, but I would rather have the cast members either not use an accent or stick to it.
After the show, there’s a short Grand Ol’ Opry-like revue called the Walk the Line Olio. It was really fun, but I wasn’t really sure why they had this. It was completely different from Sheer-Luck and I was perfectly happy having the evening be over with just that show. But the singing and dancing was fun and energetic, so it’s all good.
I would highly recommend seeing this show. Take your kids (over age 5 only), take your friends, go on an anniversary or a birthday and they’ll introduce you and sing you a song. This Playhouse has the right idea for giving great entertainment. They have a huge fan in me and I’ll make it a point to see their shows from now on.