"A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA"
"One-man show is a must-see production"
Reviewed by T. Lee Taylor
Published June 20, 1997, Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer


One man welcomed us to the Victorian Villa Festival Theatre. One man introduced himself as the Theatre's artistic director. And one man took to the stage. These men were but one man: John Sherwood.

Sherwood had the dubious task of single-handedly adapting, directing and performing in the Victorian Villa Festival Theatre's season premiere of "A Scandal in Bohemia," performed Saturday night in Union City. And, as a result, we quickly discovered what one man can do.

Sherwood portrayed Dr. John Watson, partner in crime-solving to the famous Sherlock Holmes. And, as the story Watson tells unfolds, we also discover what one woman can do.

One woman. That woman. THE woman, as Holmes refers to her. Irene Adler, described as "a lovely woman with a face a man might die for."

The story revolves around Sherlock's attempt to successfully complete a mission for the King of Bohemia, whose past indiscretions with THE woman are cause for concern, in light of his upcoming royal nuptuals.

Holmes is hired to ensure that all evidence of the tryst is eradicated. But he has met his match in THE woman.

And while we realize that the story reflects the attitudes of the last century, those of modern mind can't help but cringe at the patronizing references to women made here. "When a woman thinks that her house is on fire," Holmes tells us, "she always run to the thing she values most ... A married woman grabs at her baby. (An) unmarried woman reaches for her jewel-box." Ah, that grand old Victorian era. May it remain, with its namesake, six feet under.

Above all, Sherwood is to be commended for adapting "A Scandal in Bohemia" for the stage, and praised for his convincing portrayal of the many characters we're introduced to throughout the evening. From capturing the pomposity of our beloved sleuth to suggesting the simplicity of a Cockney passer-by, Sherwood captivated us, and, as with any great storyteller, we soon forgot that he was, after all, just one man.

T. Lee Taylor has worked as producer and station manager for National Public Radio. She teaches in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Kellogg Community College.

Contact JOHN C. SHERWOOD by e-mail.


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