Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Infernal Device: The Professor, the Detective, and the American

First off, just let me apologize for the massive delay in updates. It's shameful, I know. I can attribute some of the causes to stress and preparation for college, but the sad fact is that a good chunk of the delay is sheer procrastination. And I am so sorry. Here's hoping that I can keep up blogging when I start college in September, eh?

Ahem. About two months ago (more delays, yes), my grandma took me, my cousin, and my cousin's friend out to see a stage adaptation of Michael Kurland's The Infernal Device. I can't tell you how excited I was. My first Sherlock Holmes play, and Michael Kurland to boot! I still have not yet read his Moriarty novels, but I'd known about them, and now more than ever I'm eager to get my hands on the series.

Unfortunately, the time given on the website was not when the play actually opened. Fortunately, we were only ten to fifteen minutes late. Unfortunately, the play was only an hour long. Fortunately, we were still able to pick up the story quickly.

And unfortunately - did I mention my tongue is in my cheek right now? - I didn't have the chance to look at the program before we got to our seats. Which was why I didn't realize that there were only five actors, and, no, that goon with the bad guy wasn't actually Holmes in disguise - it was only Holmes's actor. It got pretty obvious, though, that there were only five actors when the same redheaded actress kept popping up: she played several different women in the play.

I really enjoyed the artistic side of the production. The lighting, steam, and sound effects were quite, well, effective, and I could go on a rant about how they handled props and background. Specifically, the background was pure black. No painted scenery. I loved it. Because then the actors brought in the props - a desk, a streetlamp, a bed, the helm of a boat - whatever was necessary for the scene, and removed them at the end of each scene. Except for an attic-style pile of items which remained onstage the pretty much entire time, if I recall correctly, and they typically completed the image. Your imagination was allowed to fill in the blanks, and I love that.

As for the story itself, well... here be spoilers.

Holmes is getting obsessive with Moriarty. Let's get that out of the way right now. And this is not actually a story about Holmes, nor is it entirely a story about Moriarty. Let's get that out of the way right now, too.

In fact, an American journalist and a Russian anarchist really steal the show, the former with his competency and wittiness and the latter with his deliciously over-the-top psychopathy. Benjamin Barnett, the aforementioned American, is not the type of man you'd expect to hook up with Moriarty, but neither is Moriarty exactly the cold, frightening villain of "The Final Problem," either of the Canon or of Granada. (Yes, I'm sorry, I had to say that.)

Moriarty is still the Napoleon of Crime, but he does have a sense of honor and patriotism. And he's really quite long-suffering of Holmes's not-always-justified persecution in this story. So much so that they end up working together to foil an assassination attempt on Victoria. Oops, major spoilers. Oh, well, I didn't tell you how it ended, did I?

I think I'm developing a snarky blogging style here. Fun. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, off on a tangent.

Did I mention that the villain of the story was deliciously over-the-top? Well, it bears repeating. He was delightfully insane. My grandma and I were later, for lack of a better word, gushing over how funny he was and how brilliantly the actor pulled it off.

And I really enjoyed Barnett. He was solid, dependable, honorable, and more than willing to help Moriarty out in working against their Russian antagonist. Wonderful character.

I'm afraid that two months have really blurred my memories and impressions, and I apologize for not blogging about this sooner. Really. But at least I can finally get my thoughts out now. It was fantastic fun, and I really hope The Acting Ensemble will perform this play again. It was a different and wonderful look at the Great Detective and the Napoleon of Crime.

Next time, some updates on Mortality and its sequel, The Road to Reichenbach. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment