MORIARTY – Written by Ken Ludwig; Directed by J. Blanchard.  produced by Theatre Silco (460 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne) through July 7.  Tickets available at 970-513-9386 or The 

Five actors take the stage, and the fun begins.  Two are more or less constant playing the roles of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson but the other three are in a constant swirl of changing costumes, changing accents, changing characters, even changing into animals right in front of your eyes.  I tried to keep track of how many people moved off and on the stage to aid in telling this story and lost count at 29 because I was laughing so hard. 

Ken Ludwig loves to do this to his actors – entice them into taking on A (supposedly single) role in a script and then slamming them over the head with a frenzy of motion and fast-paced dialogue.  Let’s, however, make it very clear that with this cast there was no confusion as to who was who and why they appeared on stage at the time they arrived.  Each character – whether there for only a few lines or making multiple appearances and becoming crucial to the story – was clearly and completely drawn.  And each actor was having serious fun in their playground. 

Kiernan Danaan’s Sherlock was in turns stuffy, pompous, and child-like in his slightly goofy and completely puzzled attraction to Irene Adler, an American actress.  His energy propels much of the story forward in his determination to solve the mystery. His final scene expressing profound grief and incredible relief is a gift to the audience. 

His partner in crime Christopher Joel Onken as Dr. Watson keeps the story on track and moving forward.  He is charming, much more tolerant than Holmes, and witty.  He is a good friend and keeps Holmes grounded and human. 

Patrick Halley and Ben Griffin are whirling dervishes of activity playing villains, serving maids, constables, too many pop-up characters to count.  Patrick makes a delightfully evil title character, just on the edge of smarmy and devilishly handsome.  Ben’s bloodhound brought the show to a stop as he went sniffing up into the audience on the hunt. 

Laura Cable as the lone woman in the ensemble holds her own, switching from a sweet Southern accent to a straight up Cockney for other parts. She is sure-footed in her portrayal of the various women in the story and breathtakingly luminous as Irene Adler. It’s no wonder that Sherlock became so suddenly smitten. 

As an ensemble, this group takes the prize. Within the choreography of getting to the right place on the stage in the right costume with the right prop in your hand and the right words coming out of your mouth, they have no parallel. Which means, of course, that the tech side of the show had to work like clockwork as well. The Sound Design by Garrett Gagnon greatly enhanced the action and mood of the show, adding drama to foggy London and menace to a nearby waterfall. Coordinated by Nicole Harrison, the bits and pieces of costume that were worn in each new scene clearly established who the actor had become and added realism to each new character. The lighting design by Nita Mendoza created the mood of a flirtatious afternoon or a dreary London back alley with equal reality. The simple but comprehensive set designed by Jon Young allowed the action to flow seamlessly from one scene to another without slowing down the action. Not a simple task but well thought out. 

A show like this doesn’t work the way this one did without backstage help. So, kudos to Stage Manager Brendan Cullen and the unnamed dressers, furniture movers, prop holders, light and sound operators, and sweat wipers who enhanced the show with their helping hands. 

While the story was clearly told with a wink of the eye at the silliness of it all, the joy of this show is in watching the actors have so much fun. None of that would have happened without the clear-eyed and sure-handed direction of Josh Blanchard. He knew what he wanted the show to look like and what the audience should experience and guided his actors to achieve it. Not a beat was missed – not a potential laugh overlooked – not a misstep anywhere. I hope you give yourself the opportunity to drive over the hill to Silverthorne to see this wonder. 

A WOW factor of 9!! 

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