Career Calling

December 22, 2013

Sabbath, December 22, 2013

[On Sundays, this blog explores issues beyond the realm of career and jobs.]

A Christmas Joy

I’m a big fan of Raven Theatre in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.  Last night I attended a performance of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose.  It was a short play – only an hour – but a total joy.  Michael Mendendian and John Weagly adapted a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, keeping the detective story and adding large measures of joy and holiday cheer.

The performance began with a rousing musical number that moved from jazz to Christmas carols.  The musical director, George Goetschel, played multiple instruments and led an ensemble that was energetic and clearly having a good time.  During the Holmes story, members of the ensemble performed sound effects on the stage, reminding the audience that this was fun, not a life and death detective story.

The Sherlock Holmes part of the story was also fun, but somewhat predictable, even “elementary.”  Holmes investigates how a rare gem came to be found inside of a Christmas goose.  He and Doctor Watson reason out details of the crime, which culminates in an interview with the thief.  Using his powers of reason and deduction, Holmes quickly leads the thief into a humiliating confession.  Then, in the spirit of the season, he lets the thief escape, pitying him as more of a mope than criminal and knowing that a man falsely accused of the crime would be released.

During the play and at the end, the ensemble again joined in Christmas carols.  The adapters wrote two jokes into the script that referenced Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, which was a great comic touch, if a little anachronistic since the play is set in 1890.  These elements charmed the crowd and really fit the holiday spirit.  Three cheers for the Raven Theatre and its talented performers. Hopefully they will make Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose an annual holiday production.

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