Sunday December 16, 2012 / 3:00pmSherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose
6157 North Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60660
How was your experience?
I generally like the work that Raven produces - as a subscriber for several years, I see their full season - so I encourage others not to judge the theater based upon this one... play?... and I'm glad it was not part of what I paid for with my subscription. Going in, I was very excited. I have seen the radio play of It's A Wonderful Life at two theaters, and while I love the style of presentation, I don't actually like that story! I was hoping to find that this would be a holiday show radio play to replace it. Unfortunately, this production felt hastily produced, slapped together and lazy. When compared to other "radio plays" throughout the city, this one is incredibly poorly done. I was disappointed because I know they can do better. I hate to say it, but I felt as though the theater simply wanted to cash in on some holiday theater goers, and put together the cheapest production they could with the least amount of effort. That made it feel disingenuous at best, and greedy at worst! The set used was from their previous production this year (which I thought closed about a month ago). This distracted me a bit - I'm not sure if they were setting the radio play in present day, or in the 50s, or what. Even if it was set in the 50s (which I think was in setting of the first show of this season), I thought they could have gotten rid of the movie posters and bar from that era that were part of the earlier set, at least. The rest of the set consisted of a card table (for the "announcer"), two long folding tables with tablecloths, a couple of chairs and a keyboard. The only one with a microphone as prop was the announcer - the Watson and Holmes characters didn't use them. Even if they had planned to use the old set, I feel it could have been more polished: the folders they used to hold the scripts were red, paper folders that an 8th grader would use to turn in a book report, and they were ratty around the edges. The music stands didn't match, and one was painted red and yellow and looked like something that usually remains backstage. The music beforehand was not very good... it was a bit painful to listen to. If it had been advertised as a staged reading instead of a radio play, I *may* have been more prepared for what I saw. My biggest concern is that others will have attended this show, having never been to a Raven production before, and leave with the assumption that this is typical of the quality of work produced here. Overall, this was an extremely disappointing effort. I hope that Raven does find a Christmas niche - and I really like that they sought out a more obscure Christmas tale to tell, as one can only see A Christmas Carol or the wretched Christmas Schooner so many times. I even feel like the acting was off in this production. I’ve read this tale, and some of the character interpretation was way off from what I would have envisioned. Some of it felt incredibly overacted, to a ridiculous degree. Nepotism reared its ugly head... the teenage daughter of the artistic directors has been in cast in four or five shows at this theater in the last year or two, and this was no exception. Unfortunately, she needs to do a bit of work on accents, as the accent she was affecting was... lacking. Anyway, the lucky part is that it's only an hour. But surely you have better things you can do with that hour.