Edmonds Art Beat review: ‘Whodunnit’ or ‘whoisit’? Either way, ‘Holmes and Watson’ a fantastic evening of theater

In a wonderful return to (somewhat) normalcy with live performances, I attended the newest show put on by the Edmonds Driftwood Players, Holmes and Watson.

The production, part of the theater company’s 63rd season, immediately brought me back in time with the beautifully moody sets and lighting. The design team did an incredible job using lights, shadows and sound to complement the story.

The story itself explores what happened to Sherlock Holmes after his untimely disappearance at Reichenbach Falls. Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher draws from the Holmes canon with a fresh approach to what might have occurred. In watching the play, I found that the characters slowly built this mystery and my thoughts were entangled in trying to answer the question, who is the real Holmes? It starts with Watson coming to a far-off location, an asylum off the coast of Scotland, to see three individuals claiming to be Holmes. Through interviewing each of them and piecing together what might have occurred at the falls, he comes to his conclusion. But you have to see the production to see if his theory turned out to be correct!

Photos courtesy Driftwood Players

The strong acting and casting of the three potential Holmes — all with similar-enough features to be able to stump Watson — helped the audience believe that this could be truly happening. The setting and dialects made you feel as if you had an intimate view into Scotland in 1894. The team behind he production includes Director Curtis Rawls, Assistant Director Malene Hundley, Stage Manager Jennifer Nielsen, Producer Katie Soulé, Assistant Producer Brian Fletcher, Costume Designer Diane Johnston, Lighting Designer Rob Falk, Sound Designer Arian Smit, Properties Designer Nancy Johnson, Assistant Properties Designer Rex Goulding, and Dialect Coach James Lyle.

The cast includes a variety of talented individuals. Watson is played by Mark Velednitsky, whose exuberance and confidence in his theories swayed my conclusions several times. The three asylum keepers — Dr. Evans (played by Tod Harrick), the Orderly (played by Tom Stewart) and the Matron (alternating nights are played by Sonja Rose Usher and Esha More) — do a wonderful job of pulling your attention to where it needs to be in the story. Holmes 1 (played by Trent Latta), Holmes 2  (Jeremy Moller) and Holmes 3 (Joe Wheeler) each do a great job of convincing the audience that they ARE the real Holmes. (You also might get the opportunity to see John Dugaw playing either Watson or Dr. Evans on the night you attend.)

The play is much more than the scenery and actors; the story continues to pull you in to the final ending. While watching, I found myself trying to solve the mystery myself. Several times I felt I had figured it out (thinking it was so obvious), and then find out I was completely wrong! I was grateful there was no intermission as I wanted to discover who was the real Holmes. The final outcome was clever and entertaining, but I will not spoil it here. Check out the amazing cast and production, and have a great night out by attending the play yourself! Tickets are available here and the play is at the Wade James Theatre until March 27.

— By Rachel Gardner

Rachel Gardner has a heartfelt appreciation for art in all forms and believes everyone is an artist, some just don’t know it yet. A dedicated and involved Edmonds resident, she can often be spotted onstage cracking jokes between sets or in the audience enjoying local live performances. She enjoys being playful with her art and finding unique ways of expression, like forming a boho-grunge-folk ukulele trio with local Edmonds moms.


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