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Mystery, humor, slapstick on display

December 9, 2011
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

PITTSBURGH - Take your typical twisting and turning Sherlock Holmes mystery, add a healthy helping of humor and slapstick and sprinkle lightly with Victorian-era pop culture references and you have Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre's "The Mask of Moriarity: A Holmes and Watson Caper," written by Hugh Leonard and directed by Alan Stanford, playing through Dec. 18 at the Charity Randall Theatre.

Starring the ever-enjoyable David Whalen as Sherlock Holmes and straight man supreme Martin Giles as Dr. Watson, the play follows Holmes as he works to solve a murder, protect state secrets and pursue his arch-nemesis, Moriarity.

Both Whalen and Giles are PICT regulars for good reason, and "Mask" gives them the chance to show off their comedic chops. Holmes isn't foremost among literature's comedic characters, but Whalen unquestionably makes it work with his bemused, benevolent Holmes. Giles, who previously showed off his comedic abilities as the lunatic in charge of the asylum in PICT's "What the Butler Saw," is the perfect straight man. No matter how ridiculous the situation, Giles' Watson doggedly forges ahead without blinking an eye.

Article Photos

HOLMES?AND?WATSON – David Whalen stars as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Giles stars as Dr. Watson in Pittsburgh and Irish Classical Theatre’s “The Mask of Moriarity,” by Hugh Leonard. - Contributed

Michael Hanrahan as Police Constable Travesty and the landlord of "a notorious den of vice and nameless aberrations," and Tony Bingham as Herring, "an everyday innocuous sinister family retainer," are standouts among a talented cast.

The cast includes Jessica Bates, Liz Roberts, Ethan Saks, Daryll Heysham, James FitzGerald, Edward Charles Huff, Ben Blazer, Dan Derks, Terry Hoge, Ben Blazer, Nicholas Bigatel, Dan Derks and Emily Lewis.

The design team of Gianni Downs, scenic, and Andrew David Ostrowski, lighting, are frequent collaborators at P.I.C.T., and they hit yet another out of the park with their fog-shrouded sets of Victorian London. Especially remarkable is Downs' Baker Street set, which opens up like an oversized puzzle box.

Downs also is the production manager, and Adrienne Wells is the stage manager. Joan Markert is costume designer; Nicholas Quinn is sound designer; and Cory F. Goddard is properties manager. Jordan Matthew Walsh is the assistant director, and Natalie Baker Shirer is the dialects coach.

"The Mask of Moriarity" plays at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18 in the Charity Randall Theatre. Tickets are available for $40 to $50, with senior and student discounts available.

For information, call (412) 561-6000 or visit the PICT website at

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