Review: ‘Sherlock’s Veiled Secret’ at Rockville Little Theatre

A day marked by soaking rains lent a fitting atmosphere to Sherlock’s Veiled Secret, set between Sussex and London, England. K.C. Brown crafted the play around the legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes in his retirement years (Holmes is played by Noah Steurer in Rockville Little Theatre’s production). Although his constant companion Dr. Watson is away on travel with his new bride (third or fourth according to Holmes) there is still a “Game afoot.” A blackmail situation has inspired Holmes to break with tradition and solicit assistance from a complete outsider. He has summoned an aspiring sculptor, Violet Sheridan (Miranda Klugesherz).

Sherlock (Noah Steurer) and Violet (Miranda Klugesherz) in Rockville Little Theatre's production of 'Sherlock's Veiled Secret.' Photo by Harvey Levine.
Sherlock (Noah Steurer) and Violet (Miranda Klugesherz) in Rockville Little Theatre’s production of ‘Sherlock’s Veiled Secret.’ Photo by Harvey Levine.

Sheridan’s apprehension is tempered by the presence of the great Holmes as the two verbally joust about her qualifications and his aging infirmities. She doesn’t quite believe his equating her artistic skills to deductive reasoning but reluctantly partners up following Holmes’ mic-drop revelation that he is her father. Natural curiosity becomes her driving force as she hopes to also know the identity of her mother. As it happens, Ms. Sheridan is engaged to one Charles Wellington Yorke (Kevin Raleigh). His upper-class family has trepidations about the lineage of the young Ms. Sheridan. The Yorkes will not permit the wedding if both parents of his fiancée cannot be proven. Holmes uses her need-to-know to garner her involvement in solving the blackmail case.

This is when the real RLT magic begins! Scene changes are masterfully accomplished through lighting and musical segues thanks to Light and Sound Designers Kali Munro and Sarah Katz along with special effects by Kourosh Taie and Director Laura Andruski. The complex multilevel set – another masterpiece of local legend Bill Brown and William Kolodrubetz, is spectacularly crafted and decorated by scenic artist Kathie Rogers and her team (Daniel Bentz, Anne Cary, Tony Dwyer, Dean Fiala, Peter Finkel, Eric Henry, Eddy Leon, Steve Leshin, David Levin, Kathy McCarthy, Natalie McManus, Ralph Nelson, Jean Pantalone, Nick Radonic, Michael Scherer, Krisztina Vanyi, Leo Williamson and Regina Williamson). Each elevation carries the audience from the residences of Holmes and Sheridan to where the supporting characters live their lives.

As the story unfolds we meet Mrs. Cyril Morton aka Violet Smith (Ruth Geller Vernet). Hers is a life fraught with blackmail involving past indiscretions. We also meet Irene Adler (Natalie McManus), a nefarious love interest from Sherlock’s past adventures; Turlough O’Brennan (Michael Scherer) who conducts a séance on behalf of Ms. Sheridan in hopes of discovering her mother’s identity; and Lady Charlotte Carrington (Elizabeth Keith) a well-to-do member of society who has always carried a torch for the elusive sleuth.

You must be on your game to follow the meandering dialogue of this lengthy production lest you miss a vital clue or two. But the character development encouraged by Director Laura Andruski and revealed by this very talented cast shows the detail and dedication often required in top-notch Community Theater. This show has it all.

Running Time: Two hours thirty minutes, plus a 15-minute intermission.

Sherlock’s Veiled Secret, presented by Rockville Little Theatre, runs through May 12, 2019, at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, 630 Edmonston Dr., Rockville, MD 20851. Tickets are available now at the box office or online.

Elizabeth Dashbach, Costume Designer; Malca Giblin, Hair Designer; Maria Littlefield, Property Master and Set Dresser; Katherine Rogers, Scenic Painter; Pauline Griller-Mitchell, Dialect Coach