LANESBORO — Jeremy van Meter is preparing to play a sidekick on stage. But this is no minor role. Van Meter will play probably the most popular sidekick in history: Dr. Watson – as in, “Elementary, my dear...”
The occasion is “Holmes and Watson,” which opens April 13 at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro and runs through July 6.
The play is yet another take on the Sherlock Holmes-Dr. Watson stories originated by Arthur Conan Doyle.
“The Sherlock Holmes stories and characters are some of the most iconic,” van Meter said. “So many things have launched from these characters and stories.”
In the case of “Holmes and Watson,” Watson actually becomes the central character. The premise is that it is three years after Holmes disappeared and has been presumed dead. Watson receives a telegram informing him that three men at a mental asylum are claiming to be Holmes.
So Watson sets off to investigate and solve the mystery.
“You really see Watson become a little like Holmes,” van Meter said.
It would seem that Watson should be able to recognize his longtime friend. But, said van Meter, “Holmes might be disguising himself.”
There are plenty of twists and turns in the script by Jeffrey Hatcher. It has the same characteristics, van Meter said, that audiences love in the original Holmes stories.
“I think we like trying to figure things out along with the characters,” van Meter said. “We love building up what the mystery is, and then watching it get solved before us — or trying to solve it first.
“After this show, some people will come out saying, ‘I knew it all the time,’ and others will come out saying, ‘I had no clue.’”
With that in mind, van Meter said, “We’re going to try to coach audiences who see the show to not give the ending away. The twist at the end is completely unexpected.”
With van Meter in the cast are Hal Cropp, Ben Gorman and David Hennessey as the three men claiming to be Holmes. Peter Moore directs.
“Holmes and Watson” is the opening show in the Commonweal’s 31st season. Other plays to be presented this year are “Boeing Boeing,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “On the Verge,” and “Sanders Family Christmas.”
For season ticket packages, go to commonwealtheatre.org, or call 800-657-7025.