Think of him as Sherlock Holmes, Victorian superhero. That's the Holmes you get in the Douglas Morrisson Theatre's production of "The Final Adventure."

And the idea works beautifully. Stripped of his Victorian reserve, this Holmes (Craig Dickerson) acts the way we always imagined. Reading between the lines of Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of mystery, love and friendship, we always knew the detective moved, thought, talked, walked and operated at a pace far closer to the speed of light than any mere mortal.

Then, when you remember that the conceit of the Holmes stories is that they are based on the writings and recollections of Dr. Watson (Scott G. Hartman), it's only logical that our hero is more like a legend -- larger, faster and funnier as he dashes across the stage at even the softest breath of trouble.

You would expect no less from Holmes. He is supposed to be three or four steps ahead of everyone, except maybe the fiendish Professor Moriarty (Steve Schwartz), who plays a vital role in this Holmes adventure.

And, of course, you would expect this king of logic and deduction to be puzzled and confounded by women. This is particularly true of the beautiful and puzzling Irene Adler (Sarah Klaren). Here, she is both engaged to the king of Bohemia (Geoffrey Colton) and running for her life from the murderous Moriarty.

The play combines two Holmes adventures, "The Scandal of Bohemia" and "The Final Problem." Cleverly, the blending brings Holmes together with Adler and Moriarty for one final adventure that could prove fatal for some of or perhaps the entire trio.


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Worry about that later, though. With Holmes' capers and railroad travel, getting there is at least half the fun. Director Kendall Tieck gives the play a speedy pace that leaves little time to think about nuances in the logic and mines the script for all the comedy its worth.

The cast is terrific. Dickerson finds any number of brand-new angles to the Holmes character, imbuing him with both an absolute certainty and a bull-goose looniness that makes him memorable.

Hartman becomes the perfect older brother sort of Watson, exasperated by Holmes, but ever loyal.

The rest all create characters that add to the frenetic pace of the show, playing it straight and never tipping their hands to indicate what they are doing is absolutely insane.

They are dressed in beautiful period costumes, well-designed by Christine U'Ren.

Contact Pat Craig at pjcraig495@yahoo.com.

'SHERLOCK HOLMES:
THE FINAL ADVENTURE'

Adapted by Steven Dietz from the 1899 William
Gillette-Arthur Conan Doyle play, presented by Douglas Morrisson Theatre.

Through: Through March 10
Where: Douglas Morrisson Theatre, 22311 N. Third St., Hayward
Running time: 2 hours,
10 minutes
Tickets: $21-$29;
510-881-6777,
www.dmtonline.org.