Bail on the office holiday party, put off going to see that lame blockbuster movie, and get down to the Shoe Box Theater for a completely genuine theater experience. A Scandal in Bohemia, a Sherlock Holmes story, is a mostly fast-paced, lighthearted romp of a show, delivered with absolutely no pretension or arrogance. From the moment you walk in the door, the good folks at the Northwest Classical Theatre Company (NWCTC) welcome you warmly and make it clear that they're about to have a great time—and they'd love for you to come along.
The story, adapted for the stage by NWCTC Artistic Director Grant Turner, is classic Sherlock Holmes. Someone is wronged, something is hidden, and through it all, Holmes amazes everyone with his keen powers of observation and his ability to (almost) always be one step ahead of everyone else. Turner's script is incredibly faithful to the original story, with only a few changes to help clarify the narrative. Directed by Bibi Walton, the production lags a bit in the first act, suffering from a few too many talking heads and too little action, but makes up for it in act two, which hits the ground running and builds a perfect crescendo for the thickening plot, manic action, and clever resolution.
As Holmes, Leif Norby is perfectly excitable and cocky, and carries the show. Chris Porter's Watson is a strong counterpoint to Holmes, narrating the story and acting as Holmes's straight man. The entire cast puts forth a strong ensemble effort, and it's clear that they are all having a great time bringing this production to the stage.
This is what's most notable, and most appealing, about NWCTC: They're here because they want to be here, and they love what they do. That love transfers cleanly across the stage to the audience, who couldn't escape it even if they wanted to, and translates to a solid show by one of the hardest-working companies in town, working in one of the coolest theater spaces around. And—super bonus—there's a chance you might get to sit next to some Arthur Conan Doyle fan who came in from the suburbs in full costume.