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There’s not much evidence needed to deduce that Olympic Theatre Art’s “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” is one of the destination events in Sequim this summer.
The theater finishes its 2013-2014 season with the whodunnit from July 11-27 with a preview night on July 10 and a “pay what you will” on July 17. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.
“The Final Adventure” follows Holmes, played by Edwin Joseph Anderson III, with help from Dr. Watson, played by Tom Darter, near the end of his career as the King of Bohemia (Carl Honoré) summons him to help find a photograph to avoid being blackmailed. The mystery leads him to face his biggest adversary Professor Moriarty (Keith Curtis) and opera singer and love interest Irene Adler (Nikki Adams).
Steve Dietz, who also authored the theater’s season opener “Becky’s New Car,” adapts the 1899 play by William Gilette and two of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Adventure of the Final Problem.”
One of the appeals of the play to Darter follows what Dietz once said, that “it’s always good to see the bad guy get caught.”
“Another bedrock of the stories is the relationship between Holmes and Watson and the closeness of that relationship,” Darter said. “The stories are all based around that and in this play version he really focuses on it quite a bit.”
Rather than play Watson more bumbling, Darter said he’s more like a father figure.
“Holmes has never really had real relationships with other people,” Anderson said. “Watson is trying to push him out of the nest. Force him to have more of a relationship with Irene Adler. I think it’s great. It’s one of my favorite parts of the production.”
To prepare for the analytical literary hero, Anderson said he did his research reading and watching many of the Doyle stories and TV adaptations.
His last role with the theater required a British accent, he said, so he’s spent a lot of time practicing that and watching British television, too.
Curtis, said as Holmes’ intellectual equal Moriarty, he’s approaching him as someone who has never encountered opposition before.
“At the beginning, he’s confident and making casual death threats to Holmes but he’s getting more and more desperate,” Curtis said. “Eventually, he’s coming to his downfall.”
While Curtis last read Holmes’ collected stories about 20 years ago aloud to his wife, he still finds the detective larger than life drawn on a backdrop of ordinary people.
“I describe him as a superhero like Batman or James Bond who is one of these people who is just superior and he must find something he does with all of these gifts he has,” he said.
Holmes, in tune
While the theater may be bringing Holmes’ last adventure, audience goers may hear a first with the production.
Darter has composed all of the incidental music for the play on piano.
Director Loren Johnson said they’ve used some original music before but no one has scored one of their plays in Sequim to his knowledge.
“It’s really one of the more unique aspects of this play,” he said. “I think Tom has done a beautiful job.”
Darter said he’s composed for a few other productions and did this show in a week.
One minor change was an aria with Irene Adler singing a song about Cleopatra, but he discovered there wasn’t an opera about the queen when the play originally was adapted. Darter instead made some textual edits using some lines from “Anthony and Cleopatra” to craft a two-minute song that sounds like it was from the end of the 19th century, he said.
Other cast members include Ben Catterson in multiple roles, Sharon DelaBarre as Madge, Marcus McInerney as James Larrabee, and Danny Willis as Sid Prince.
“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”
Presented by Olympic Theatre Arts
Where: 414 N. Sequim Ave.
When: 7:30 p.m. July 11-12, 18-19, 25-26
2 p.m. July 13, 20, 27
7:30 p.m. Preview night July 10 and a “pay what you will” performance July 17.
Tickets: $16, or $14 for OTA members and active military
Available by calling 683-7326, at the box office, 414 N. Sequim, Ave., from 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, or at www.olympictheatrearts.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.