Through October 16
MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
There’s nothing like a real crime for the base of a fictional story.
It’s done on TV all of the time and certainly novels can tell a fictional version of a true story.
Michael Mitnick’s “Mysterious Circumstances” revolves around a Sherlock Holmes freak and a treasure trove about Holmes’ creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.
Richard Lancelyn Green (Ben Michael Moran) is that 221B Baker Street freak until he dies.
And, that’s the key to the ending of Mitnick’s play, based on a David Grann story in "The New Yorker."
It’s all true.
We don’t know if Green’s death was accidental or not and that’s the question you take away from the Road Less Traveled Theatre.
He was an impossible person who made a lot of enemies and, apparently, a limited number of friends.
For him, the Grail was a box of the story of Doyle, what made him kill off Holmes in the Reichenbach Falls and what made him bring him back for more adventures.
Actually, it sounds like the quest for material for a Ph.D. thesis.
There is competition for that box of material because it is said to be worth millions of dollars (pounds?).
Mitnick mixes the story of Green with events in the life of Doyle himself (Peter Palmisano), as he tells his publisher Holmes is in the past and the next books will be about history.
The writer wrote a lot of books about history and spiritualism.
They just didn’t sell all that well.
Here, we also meet Dr. Watson (David Marciniak) and Jean Doyle, the writer’s daughter, who has the box of papers.
Various characters move across a stage dominated by Moran, even if he has to be periodically pulled back into the story and away from the rug he’s chewing on the RLTP stage.
He’s an eccentric, clearly British, who’s locked onto a mental obsession.
Doyle was a doctor, trained in a great medical school when medicine was emerging from the medieval image of the barber-surgeon.
The scientific approach of thinking through a problem shows up in Holmes.
If Green was murdered, it might have to do with his claim that Jean Doyle was going to give the material to the British Library and after she died it wound up at a major London auction house and he protested loudly.
Green argued its secrets might never be known because the material would disappear into some collection, chopped up, page-by-page.
“The New Yorker” article is around if you want to look at actual reporting on what might, or might not, have happened.
“Mysterious Circumstances” is a pretty entertaining story and often an engaging play.
Directory John Hurley mostly does an interesting job, with the exception of letting Moran get cranked up.
The show functions because so many of the performers are shifting in and out of many parts, except for Moran.
It must be difficult.
Dyan Burlingame contributed an effective and flexible set.
See the show and then read about Holmes and Moriarty, followed by Holmes and Colonel Moran.
Meanwhile, there are very “Mysterious Circumstances.”
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