Steve Hendrickson is putting on the deerstalker and lighting the pipe as Sherlock Holmes for the fourth go around. This time, the location is a bit unfamiliar. At least, unfamiliar for Holmes.
Park Square Theatre presents the premiere of Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders, which adapts one of Larry Millet’s novels that places the great detective in Minnesota.
“It’s Larry Millet filtered through Jeffrey Hatcher. It has a very similar feel to the last one, Sherlock Holmes and the Suicide Club. Jeff has a definite sort of tone with the character. If you liked The Suicide Club you will like this Holmes. It is very much in that milieu again,” Hendrickson says.
The lanky Hendrickson understands the longstanding appeal of Arthur Conan Doyle’s character.
“The fun of watching the stories is that there is never really any doubt that Holmes will solve the mystery in the end. The fun is seeing how it is going to happen. If the writer is playing fair, we have more or less the same information Holmes has. How well are we going to keep up?” Hendrickson says.
Beyond the mysteries, there is the character himself. Or maybe that should be characters, as Dr. John Watson is a vital part of the equation. Hendrickson is joined by Bob Davis for the third time as Holmes’s great friend.
The friendship exists offstage as well. “When I moved back to the Twin Cities in 1989, Bob was in the first play I did. We have been friends ever since. We have evolved a pretty nice chemistry with each other. There is a lot of non-verbal communication we have. I respect Bob very much, and I think he respects me. I can’t even begin to count how many times we have worked together,” Hendrickson says.
As the title suggests, the crime Holmes and Watson are entangled with is set at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The year is 1896, and Minnesota is a bit more rugged than the friendly hearth at 221B Baker Street.
“It takes Holmes and Watson out of their comfort zone. They are coming to a world that operates a little differently. There is a wonderful character who is a woman newspaper reporter. She brings a different kind of energy into the story. It is something that knocks Holmes and Watson a bit,” Hendrickson says.
And playing the character is always a blast.
“He is an extraordinarily popular character. At the time, offering his services as a consultant was a radical idea. People from all social strata would come to him. He’s not interested in class or money, only if you have an interesting idea,” Hendrickson says.
IF YOU GO
Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders
The show is in previews through Thursday, opens Friday, and runs through July 26
Park Square Theatre
20 W. Seventh Pl., St. Paul
$40-$60 ($27-$37 previews)
For tickets and more information, call 651-291-7005 or visit online.