The exploits of Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler and pal, Dr. Watson, have been popular and entertaining ever since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of the deductive detective began appearing in serial form in a range of magazines, most usually The Strand.

Holmes and Watson have also appeared on the big and small screen, and they come to the stage beginning this week when Hayward's Douglas Morrisson Theatre presents "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure," a Doyle and William Gillette play adapted by Stephen Dietz. "Final Adventure" plays in previews Thursday, then opens Friday and plays through March 10.

The play combines two Holmes stories, "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Final Problem," and Dietz's adaptation won him the 2007 Edgar Award for drama. The fast-paced show includes not only the usual action, clues and red herrings with which Holmes is associated, but also two of Doyle's favorite characters Irene Adler (The Woman) and Holmes' most menacing, tricky and fiendish adversary, Professor Moriarty.

Directing the play is Kendall Tieck, a veteran Bay Area performer and director.

Tickets, at $10 for the preview and $21-$29 for regular performances, may be reserved by calling 510-881-6777 or www.dmtonline.org.


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"CHILDREN OF EDEN": Stephen Schwartz and John Caird's play is a contender for the most often-produced musical not to have previously appeared on Broadway. It comes to the Contra Costa Civic Theatre in El Cerrito on Friday and plays through March 10.

Essentially, the musical is based on the first book of the Bible, Genesis, but according to producer Daren A.C. Carollo, the show reaches far beyond that, covering a time between the Garden of Eden and Noah's Ark. It begins where the Bible stories left off and deals more with the personal lives of the characters from the Bible.

Schwartz has been quoted as saying "Children of Eden" is his favorite of the plays he has written and represents his best musical score. "Eden" includes his favorite song, "Stranger to the Rain," as well as "The Hardest Part of Love," which he considers the song that best espouses his philosophy of life. Finally, he said the tune "In the Beginning" is the song he would most like to be remembered for.

Tickets for "Children of Eden," $15-$27, are at 510-52 4-9132 or www.ccct.org.

"AS YOU LIKE IT": William Shakespeare's beloved comedy gets the Impact Theatre treatment when it opens Feb. 25 in the company's subterranean theater below La Val's Pizza in Berkeley.

Artistic director Melissa Hillman, who forged quite a reputation creating wild examinations of Shakespeare's work, directs this the first Shakespeare comedy she has tackled in several years.

Impact's version of the comedy is set in modern San Francisco, where cousins Rosalind and Celia run away to a Northern California forest when Celia's mother, Duchess Frederick, threatens Rosalind's life. The show plays in previews Feb. 21 and 22, then opens Feb. 23 and plays through March 30. Tickets, at $10-$25 may be reserved at www.impacttheatre.com.

Contact Pat Craig at cpjcraig495@yahoo.com.

DON'T MISS

"Disenchanted!": The new musical by Dennis T. Giacino plays Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts, Friday through Feb. 24. The show is a backstage look at the lives of storybook princesses and how they're sick of being misrepresented and exploited by animated movies and theme parks; $25-$30; 925-943-7469 or www.leshercenter.org.
"The Real Americans": Dan Hoyle's hit solo show drawn from his tour of Middle America comes to the Marsh Berkeley on March 8 through April 6; $15-$50; 415-282-3055, www.themarsh.org.