Review: Holmes & Watson Get a Clue at Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse

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“Beyond elementary and extraordinary” are words that can properly surmise the brilliance and awe of Laguna Playhouse’s presentation of “Holmes & Watson”. Before the dreaded and flawed 2018 film, the similarly titled “Holmes & Watson” was a 2017 American stage production that opened in Arizona. This faithful adaptation of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective is written by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by David Ellenstein.

Expectations are high given the global familiarity and popularity of a long-time favorite literary character able to transcend time, medium, and human expression delving into the lore of mystery and intellect. The hallmarks of the crime-solving detective get wrapped up in his web of intricate misdirection and red herrings. Even if the audience is not up to speed with the source material, particularly with “The Final Problem”, the 90-minute play fills in the blanks with engaging characters, witty dialogue, ominous set and lighting design, and layers and layers of intrigue.

Laguna Playhouse

With no intermission, the audience is completely immersed from beginning to end in one of the ultimate battles of wits seen on stage at Laguna Playhouse. The one thing that will never be uncovered is any hint of boredom.

Nearly three years after the final struggle between Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty, Dr. Watson (Richard Baird) is drawn to a foreboding island asylum to unravel the mystery and identity of the long-thought-dead detective. Dr. Evans (Nicolas Mongiardo-Cooper) oversees three men claiming to be the only Sherlock Holmes. Holmes #1 (Matthew Floyd Miller) stands up to initial appearances, Holmes #2 (Matt Koenig) strapped in a straightjacket at his request, and Holmes #3 (Christopher M. Williams) is deaf-mute. The asylum is overlooked by the Orderly (Mike Peebler) and Matron (Alice Sherman). Deciphering the identity of an old friend and colleague will not be an easy task for weary Dr. Watson.

The creative cast and crew of “Holmes & Watson” certainly pieced together a wondrous accomplishment respecting the source material and enticing curious minds. A mental exercise in the ever-lasting attraction to solve the case before time runs out. Jumping into the show without studying the playbill what actor is playing which character provides a more enjoyable experience.

Laguna Playhouse

The hidden details, double meanings, and stunning revelations keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. A mesmerizing waterfall effect infused within the shadowy windowsill of the deary asylum visually captures the iconic duel between good and evil in different versions of the truth. Deduction undoubtedly sees “Holmes & Watson” as one of the most memorable mysteries put on stage.

Teeming with professional talent on and off stage, this call to adventure can not go unanswered. Grab your magnifying glass and your thinking cap, “Holmes & Watson” is playing on select days now until June 16, 2024. Be warned, theatrical gunplay is used during this production. For more information and ticket sales, visit

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