Sherlock Solo

  • Date:
    January 1, 2008
    Review by:
    Robert Rubin.

    A Review by Robert Rubin.

    Sherlock Solo has brought the great detective out of retirement to tell the story of a previously undisclosed case involving a mysterious woman who proves to be an unsettling presence in Holmes� life. The master detective is telling his story at Theatre Row�s Kirk Theatre which is located at 410 West 42nd Street in New York City. This one man show is presented by the Resonance Ensemble.

    Due to the absence of Dr. Watson, Mr. Holmes, who is now retired, has decided to return to public life and make presentations about his career. Sherlock Holmes, played by Victor L. Cahn, tells us the story of a previously undisclosed case. It concerns Madeline Lortimer, an American actress who is living in London and her relationship with two men, Jeremiah Bascomb and Elihu Givens. Ms. Lortimer notes that she has special feelings for Givens, but he refuses to fight for her. She tells Holmes that Jeremiah has some sinister hold over Elihu and she wants the detective to find out about this hold so that Elihu can fight for her. Along the way we learn more about the famous Holmes. He explains his passion regarding the violin, his career in the theater, and how he decided to become a detective. During the play we realize why Holmes has such a great knowledge of literature, astronomy, botany and geology. The audience also gets a glimpse of his drug habit. Holmes tells us that he is not the stuffy strait-laced Victorian gentleman. He describes himself and his habits as Bohemian.

    Sherlock Holmes tries to teach us, �It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.� So having seen Sherlock Solo, I will dare to offer judgments on this one-man show by writer-performer Victor L. Cahn. Victor L. Cahn has written several works produced Off-Broadway, including Fit to Kill, Roses in December and Embraceable Me. Cahn has appeared onstage with Home Made Theater, Curtain Call Theatre, Albany Civic Theater, Schenectady Civic Players, Cohoes Music Hall, Hubbard Hall and Theater Voices. He is professor of English at Skidmore College and author of books on Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard and Harold Pinter. He has written this 90 minute play, which is performed without an intermission, which gives us a look into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle�s famed Victorian London detective. He has crafted a play which is one of those rare plays that uses language beautifully. He acts out all the characters and brings us into Holmes world with great ease. There are 56 short stories and 4 novels written by Conan Doyle in this series. A popular pastime among fans of Sherlock Holmes is to treat Holmes and Watson as real people, and attempt to elucidate facts about them from clues in the stories or by combining the stories with historical fact. Mr. Cahn�s play may help these people since he includes so many clues to Holmes� life.

    The production is well directed by Eric Parness. The design team includes Sarah B. Brown (set design), Pamela Kupper (lighting design), Sidney Shannon (costume design) and Nick Moore (sound design). Ms Brown�s simple but effective set design takes us further into the Victorian world. Sherlock Solo provides an entertaining evening of theater.

    Robert Rubin