Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

January 29, 2024

Review: Playhouse on Park, “Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B”

Playhouse on Park, West Hartford, CT 
January 24 – February 18, 2024
by Shera Cohen

Needless to say, the title prepares the audience; this play will have two important elements – comedy and espionage. Written by Kate Hamill, whose genre is primarily revisits of classic novels, “Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson – Apt. 2B” brings these sleuths into the 21st century.

The erstwhile duo solves three mini-mysteries before the ultimate cat and mouse game to apprehend Holmes’ arch enemy Moriarty. The unlikely duo does the best they can, even though they are girls. Hamill often pokes fun at male egos.

Hamill spins and twists, all the while tossing in puns, TV theme music, and malaprops.
The cast of four work well together; the two women as well as two other actors in multiple roles, totaling an approximate 12 characters populating the stage, but never all at once. 

Holmes and Watson, acted by Kirsten Peacock and Kelly Letourneau, respectively, create completely opposite characters in stance, voice, and appearance. Each are obviously fine actors, having their fingers on what makes audiences laugh.

Director Kelly O’Donnell moves her characters at a clip in what is a long play that easily could have been boring. However, the Holmes and Watson of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels boasted humorous repartee with a twinkle in their eyes. O’Donnell and the actresses definitely bring out the fun, but one dimensionally. I don’t know if in the script and/or the director’s vision, but the two lead characters don’t like each other for most of the play.

Nick Nudler, as every male, introduces the play directly to the audience as a macabre soothsayer. Breaking the fourth wall immediately brings us onto the stage. This schtick repeats a few times, adding an unexpected comic touch. It is a pleasure when Nudler enters, literally opening the door to add more humor to what is already onstage.

In four separate roles is Megan McDermott. Her primary skill is physical humor, which along with her effective English accent, make her quite a hoot. Never upstaging, McDermott is given her moments to shine, and she grabs them.

Playhouse on Park (POP, to me) has 14 years under its belt. It’s a small theatre, employs talented actors, and the presenters and crew hold nothing back in creating the best that theatre can be.