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When last we left David MacGregor’s reconstruction of the historic Sherlock Holmes, we discovered that housekeeper Irene Adler had been transformed into Holmes’ lover and equal partner in droll wit and acerbic analysis.
“The Adventure of the Fallen Souffle” now playing at the Purple Rose Theatre Co. in Chelsea, Michigan, is the second episode of a three-part trilogy that features Holmes, Watson, Adler as well as Marie Chartier, the evil daughter of Doctor Moriarity.
Holmes, portrayed by Mark Colson, continues to be smug and self-satisfied, displaying a casual fastidious superiority. Colson glides across the stage with all the subtle aplomb of ’40s film actor David Niven observing things that go unnoticed by others and defining them as if he is lifting definitions, whole cloth, out of Webster’s finest dictionary. A flurry of close to a dozen of these observations brings an accumulation of laughs from an audience that sees clearly that writer MacGregor is making fun of the genre by exaggerating eccentricities.
The reconstructed Holmes, however, is more insightful. He takes a female perspective into consideration. He engages Adler, portrayed by Sarab Kamoo, in a dazzling display of competitive wordplay. Adler is up to the challenge, parrying every thrust with a wildness of wit, a checkmate to every check. Sandwiched in between this repository of repartee is the droll deliberativeness of Watson, who carefully jots down notes for a future narrative fiction.
Paul Stroili is Watson. With carefully measured tones he keeps Holmes’ and Adler’s twisting word salad of witticisms from running entirely amok.
What plot there is in this convoluted story of comic adventure is clearly secondary to the characters themselves. In this second saga, it is the featured actors who steal the stage.
Purple Rose veteran, Tom Whalen, is at the top of his game as chef Auguste Escoffier, a hambone (pun intended) of culinary excess and comic exasperation.
David Bendena as Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, struts regally, bending over backwards, performing at one point the most amazing imitation of a flat-on-his-back, flip-flopping flounder.
Caitlin Cavannaugh reprises her role as Marie Chartier, Dr. Moriarity’s daughter, and while pretending to be an Irish Duchess, layers a German brogue onto a French accent. Say what?
Having noted in a previous review the spectacular atrium designed by Bartley Bauer, I must note the embellishments of properties designer Danna Segrest. The pistols and swords, pots and pans, gewgaws and bombs, soufflés and sashes that complete this impeccable sequel.
"Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Fallen Soufflé"
Fri., Oct. 4 —Sat., Dec. 21
Purple Rose Theatre Co.
137 Park St., Chelsea