Theatre review

Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s A Scandal in Bohemia

Photo by Jackie Teeple
Joe LoCicero (Sherlock Holmes) in Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s A Scandal in Bohemia

Do you regret posting that picture? The one of you with a certain someone that you now wish would never be seen again? Well, you’re not alone.
Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s production of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia– which centers on just such a photo– continues its annual tradition of commemorating Sherlock Holmes’s purported birthday month with an old-time radio play.
Narrated by Holmes’s assistant Dr. Watson (Ken Knight), the 1891 story is simple yet intriguing: about to be married, the wealthy, physically imposing King of Bohemia (Jesse Seann Atkinson) seeks Holmes’s help to retrieve a potentially compromising photograph with a woman from his past.
“The woman,” as she is referred to, is American opera singer Irene Adler (Jo McLachlan), who proves just as skilled as Holmes in sneaking around in disguise and eluding her stalkers.
Staged in 1940s radio studio KBRD (read: K-Bard), the show consists of four actors playing all the parts of the story in broadcasting form, including clever commercial breaks advertising local establishments. The actors also perform all sound effects, such as horse-drawn carriages clattering along busy London streets, which assist our imaginations in visualizing what happens.
Joe LoCicero as Holmes is clear and engaging, performing his dialogue deliberately and articulately. As the Eastern European-accented King of Bohemia, Atkinson is sufficiently snide and arrogant (and plays keyboard). And Knight, who also adapted the story for this radio format, delivers the bulk of the narration as Watson, sometimes stumbling but effective.
Jo McLachlan simply delights as she seamlessly switches voices– from a radio announcer to the mysterious Irene Adler, and from a guy holding Holmes at gunpoint in one commercial to a woman seductively selling cheese in another.
We also see director Brandon Alexander Cutts on stage, expertly juggling directing all radio performers and technical crew (headed by Jose Castro) without missing a beat.
As an auditory experience celebrating perhaps the most famous detective in the world, A Scandal in Bohemia does not disappoint. Will the king get to erase his past? Or has Holmes met his match in Irene Adler? The game is not only afoot, as Holmes likes to say, but takes surprising twists and turns thanks to a formidable female foe.

A Scandal in Bohemia continues at the Richard Goad Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Ave., through Jan. 21, with shows Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $12.50. For tickets and information, call (562) 997-1494 or visit LBShakespeare.org.

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