The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

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Cara Mantella, Bryan Brendle and John Markowski. Photo by R. Todd Fleeman

Cara Mantella, Bryan Brendle and John Markowski. Photo by R. Todd Fleeman

One of literature’s most famous detectives, Sherlock Holmes continues to resonate with popular culture. Whether it is the recently released movies or the new spin on the tales in the television series, audiences enjoy the crafty gumshoe.

With The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays, Atlanta theater audiences can see the character in a different light. The Ken Ludwig comedy mixes elements of a farce and a thriller to create a mystery that will have you smiling more than being on edge of your seat.

Broadway star William Gillette (Bryan Brendle), famous for playing Sherlock Holmes, is mysteriously shot at the end of a performance, and as he is mending, he invites friends and colleagues over to his mansion for a Christmas weekend away. But, something goes awry when one of them is stabbed, and Gillette must don his character’s persona to solve the mystery and possibly save his own life.

Under the direction of Robert Egizio, the cast presents a solid, entertaining performance. Brendle creates a compelling character, rousing the crowd with his comedic antics as the eccentric and tech-loving actor. As his mother, Jackie Prucha gives the strongest performance of the cast members. Whether she is groggily speaking with the Holmes-loving inspector (Holly Stevenson) or sharply delivering a sarcastic line, her character wins over the audience and easily makes her a sympathetic character.

As the caustic critic and theater columnist, Cara Mantella’s Daria Chase delights with her quips and arrogant demeanor. Jacob York (Felix Geisel) and Amanda Cucher (Madge Geisel) play well off each other, and their argument over Felix’s exploits is quite humorous.

The set designed by Chuck Welcome works well for the production and the lighting design by John David Williams and sound design by Dan Bauman give the show a sinister mood that contrasts nicely with the elegant mansion set.

A funny take on Sherlock Holmes, The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays provides a nice diversion from the typical holiday fare. It plays at Stage Door Players through December 22, 2013. For tickets and more information, please see our Now Onstage listing or the theater’s website. The show’s run time is just under two hours with an intermission.

– Kenny Norton