2’s Review: “A Sherlock Carol”

2’s Review: “A Sherlock Carol”

 By Dave Elias

Full Review

Have you ever wondered what became of old Ebenezer Scrooge after he had an epiphany and became a loving, generous man after the ghost of Christmas’s past visit?

“A Sherlock Carol” unlocks some of those answers at the Florida Rep Theatre in downtown Fort Myers.

Don’t let the show’s name discourage you, as I must admit I was a bit skeptical about murder and Christmas not leaving me with that yuletide feeling. However, this show is much greater than its name.

The show opens with the mysterious death of Ebenezer Scrooge, and London’s renowned sleuth Sherlock Holmes is on the case with a bit of reluctance after he has given up on being a detective but after a little persuading he is back in full swing and dropping clues on whodunit throughout as the audience tries to come to a conclusion before the dramatic ending is revealed.

Writer Director Mark Shanahan executes this spin off of a Christmas Carol flawlessly and takes the Dickens characters and themes of the beloved Christmas show and creates a holiday detective story that keeps audiences guessing and suspicious of every character entering the stage to try and figure out what or who killed Scrooge and why his will was changed.

Perhaps most astonishing in this production is the actor’s wizardry to jump in and out of various characters throughout the performance. At the same time, Actor Nicholas Wilder maintains his straight-faced Sherlock Holmes consistently throughout, along with Actor William McNulty, who is a perfect spot-on and haunting Ebenezer Scrooge.

The other actors in the show are numbered Actors 1-4, who superbly play countless roles. Let’s begin with Actor #1 Matt Lytle, who makes his unforgettable Florida Rep. debut as a memorable Tiny Tim, now known as Dr. Timothy Cratchit, along with a myriad of other people from stoic snobs to laugh-out-loud absurd characters.

Actor #2 is performed by Chrissy Albanese, who plays so many characters I lost count. Her energy and comedy abound throughout the show, as she even plays a male inspector.

Actor #4 Jackie Schram has a very distinct look but amazingly transforms distinctness into various opposed characters as each leaves the audience smiling.

A show like this can be risky, relying on only a handful of actors to keep the audience entertained with dozens of characters, but the talented actors in this show are good, and I loved every one of them as they pulled it off with delight.

Minimalism is the theme here as the set is fundamental but classic and works with all of the movement and scenes scattered throughout London but what may lack in set design is made up the beautiful period costumes with top hats, dark clothes and petticoats.

So, if you like a little bit of mystery during the holiday, this will be the perfect show for you and the entire family to absorb a bit of nostalgic Christmas with some tremendous ole favorite carols.

There are only a few days left to see this classic production and figure out who or what killed Scrooge before the show ends on December 17th. Tickets are available by calling the Florida Repertory Theatre Box Office at 239-332-4488.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the holiday laughs.