Tuesday, December 25, 2007
A Treat at Christmastime
Last Saturday night, I attended the Workshop Theatre’s production of The Gift of the Magi and The Blue Carbuncle, a Christmas-themed pairing of one-act plays. The evening began with a series of Christmas carols sung by the company, from sincere to hilarious. After the singing session, the narrator took us through The Gift of the Magi. While the well-known story lacked any real dramatic tension, the three leading players delivered performances that outshone the predictable plot. The narrator added just the right touch of atmosphere and honesty to the play, although the act ended on an upbeat and optimistic note that I don’t recall from the O Henry short story. As a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was really hoping to enjoy the Holmes play. Unfortunately, the show did not quite live up to my expectations. The adaptation made the story quite clear, but unfortunately lacked any drama or drive. The actor playing Holmes also had a peculiar habit of delivering all his lines facing the audience, never looking any other actor in the eyes. While clearly a choice of either director or performer, it only served to distance Holmes from all the other characters. It also didn’t help the subplot of Watson trying to connect with Holmes, since Holmes refused to connect with anyone. I did like the performance of Dr Watson, however, as I felt he was honest and sincere, and there was nothing affected about his character. I also really liked the interpretation of Mrs. Hudson. The woman playing her was only in her thirties, and I liked the younger dynamic she brought to the role. Mrs. Hudson was not the elderly matron of Baker Street, but a contemporary of Holmes and Watson. She was a fantastic foil to a rather bland Sherlock Holmes. Ultimately, both plays were very cute and very "cuddly," but neither one really delivered dramatically.