published Friday, August 10th, 2012

Edgier Holmes play may give Sherlock his 'Final Adventure'

IF YOU GO

What: "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure."

When: 8 p.m. today and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.

Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors and students ($7 online).

Phone: 706-621-9129.

Web site: www.backalleyproductions.org.

Apparently, there's no place like Holmes.

With the recent feature films starring Robert Downey Jr. and the modern-day BBC television series "Sherlock," fans can't seem to get enough of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective.

Local Holmes aficionados can see the detective on the stage this weekend at Barking Legs Theater when Back Alley Productions presents "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure."

The play is adapted by Steven Dietz from two Conan Doyle stories, "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Final Problem."

The production is an encore version of the same show many of the same actors did at the Catoosa County Colonnade a year ago under the banner of Stageworks Entertainment.

"We took a year off to work with it, explore the characters, the personalities, to make it funner, edgier," said director Kaylee Smith.

In the story, set in 1893, the king of Bohemia is about to be blackmailed with a notorious photograph. The woman at the heart of the crime is famous opera singer Irene Adler. Holmes, with companion Dr. John Watson at his side, finds the case too tempting to ignore. When he pursues it, though, he also finds it hard to ignore Adler and, in doing so, finds himself playing into the hands of longtime adversary Professor James Moriarty.

"It's still for the whole family," said Smith, referencing last year's lighter version at the Colonnade, "but there's a whole lot more suspense."

Christopher Smith, the director's brother, reprises his role as Holmes. She said he is inspired by the portrayal and characteristics of Holmes in the BBC series but has made the role his own.

Also returning to the 12-member cast, among the principals, are Bridget Roeder (Adler) and James Caleb Reed (Moriarty), but David Craig has assumed the role of Watson.

Smith said of last year's production that the fact it is not written by Conan Doyle but adapted from his stories shouldn't bother anyone.

"Fans will incredibly enjoy the story," she said, "as well as people who have never heard of Sherlock Holmes. This play may not be one of the stories he wrote, but it's written very much like it. It has the same flow, the same characters as Conan Doyle intended."

Although last year's production was solid, she said, the new version is more developed.

In this case, she said, you "love a show so much that you take time off from previously doing it ... and really make it a much better story. This one should be a step up."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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