Little Theatre review: 'Watson' brilliantly staged

Sherlock Holmes, played by Dean Madsen, left, and Dr. John Watson, played by Andrew Benson, talk on the train during a dress rehearsal Monday of “Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes” at The Little Theatre in New London. Erica Dischino / Tribune

"It is Elementary, My Dear" that you do not want to miss the production of “Watson: The Last Great Tale of The Legendary Sherlock Holmes” at The New London Little Theatre.

This production is a brilliantly staged action/adventure comedy directed by Thomas Rosengren. The audience will experience the London fog, a chase on horseback, a hot air balloon ride, fights with the Turks and multi-story falls; all occurring without any special effects only specialized lighting and sound effects developed by Matt Hegdahl and superb costuming developed and created by Ginny Lief.

The entire cast truly works as one well-oiled machine seamlessly moving around the stage and uniquely portraying at least 10 different locations and over 30 characters from around the world and taking the audience on an adventure they will never forget.

Arthur Conan Doyle's scientific sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, is characterized aptly by Dean Madsen. He brings his skills of voice and athletic abilities to the stage in order to battle his arch nemesis, Moriarty; and to give some consult and maybe too many insults to his sidekick, Watson.

Dr. Watson is portrayed intelligently by Andrew Benson. He gives Watson the heart and passion that we desire out of a good sidekick and he also brings to life the brilliance and the intrigue that we never quite expect out of Watson.


Madsen and Benson play off of each other well and are a true dynamic duo leading the cast of characters who all traverse the three-level stage of The Little Theatre with ease and near acrobatics.

The dizzying, mustachioed and bushy eye-browed Professor James Moriarty is portrayed by Nathan Klaers. He is a man you love to hate because he is truly a criminal mastermind and menace. But the true mastermind of Klaers comes out in scene four where he superbly portrays seven different characters with the simple swapping of a hat, a voice, and a body posture. Bravo!

Set in the late 1890s, the audience can also expect to see some historical characters brought to life. They include: Taylor Barber as Queen Victoria with the crown and sceptre and the regal attitude and accent of a true royal; and Jais Gossman as the super psycho analytical Doctor Sigmund Freud with an accent that you will leave you laughing as he tries to break Holmes from his addictions and get him to answer the question, "Why?!"

I would be remiss to not mention the unique puppet show that is performed during the play that brings Tsar Alexander of Russia (voiced by Sonja Madsen) and Abdul Hamid of The Ottoman Empire (voiced by Becca Schmidt) in a Punch and Judy style puppet show that will make adults and children giggle in delight. The puppets were created by ACGC student Daniel Williamson.

Supporting characters who add to the delight and the drama, the teasing and the flirting on stage include Lilly Wattnem as Irene Adler – the only woman to ever get the upper hand on Holmes and helps him and Watson as they traverse to fight the evils in the world; Courtney Carlson as Mary Watson – the wife of Dr. Watson who has the job of keeping him fighting to stay alive and getting back home to her; and, Corin Gauer as Mycroft Holmes who is Sherlock's older and wiser sister who aides the dynamic duo from afar and tosses some good jabs at her little brother.

The true heart and soul of this production are the roles of the stagehands that were written directly into the script and give the audience a chance to see what a busy and dedicated role the job of a stagehand can be in a theatrical production. They are constantly moving both on and off stage moving set pieces and portraying several minor characters and if you look closely you can see their actions behind the scenes as Rosengren leaves the curtains open for the audience to glimpse into their role behind the scenes. The stagehands include: Gossman, Barber, Schmidt, S. Madsen, and Kayla Watson.

One regular show remains at 2 p.m. Aug. 11.

Holmes and Watson is a production you don't want to miss because it will be an action-packed afternoon for the whole family and good entertainment is as they say, "Elementary!"


Dr. John Watson, played by Andrew Benson, professes to the audience Monday during a dress rehearsal of “Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes” The Little Theatre in New London. Erica Dischino / Tribune

Related Topics: THEATER
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