Friday night was the opener for Sherlock Homes and the Case of the Jersey Lily at Park Square, and it was impressively close to a full house for an early-summer night out. The show itself was entirely entertaining, if short on dramatic heft.
|No shit, Sherlock: Craig Johnson as Oscar Wilde and Steve Hendrickson as Sherlock Holmes chew the fat|
The plot centers around an actress named Lillie (Virginia Burke
), who is being blackmailed over a cache of love letters that implicate her in a bygone affair with a member of the British royal family. At the behest of her pal Oscar Wilde (Craig Johnson
), she takes her case to Sherlock Holmes (Steve Hendrickson
What follows is a web of subterfuge, intrigue, and subplots that eventually reveal the scurvy hand of Professor Moriarty (James Cada
). Along the way, Holmes's chum Watson (Steve Lewis
) falls hard for Lillie, but she prefers the unattainable type (i.e., Holmes, whose passions run primarily for sleuthing and, we are reminded briefly, intravenous cocaine).
Katie Forgette's script is solid, and director David Mann
opts to keep things light, with an emphasis on numerous one-liners. In a recurring gag, the arch Holmes steers Wilde to properly name his most famous play; the droll Johnson is hilarious throughout, clearly relishing the role of literary history's most endearing fop.
There is a danger to keeping things light, and despite Cada's dark machinations you never feel any palpable sense of danger or intense suspense. Hendrickson's cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow mien works, but since Holmes never breaks a sweat, neither do we. But it's a show that succeeds on its own terms: a diversion, a confection, an entertainment. After all, as one local man about town remarked to me before the show: This in Minnesota. We don't necessarily need Ibsen in June.
Sherlock is all about fun, and supplies it in good measure.
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily runs through July 3. For tickets call 651.291.7005 or click here.