Mysterious Circumstances

Critics

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84 %

Reviews: 16

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Sat Jul 20, 3:00pm
Sat Jul 20, 8:00pm
Sun Jul 21, 2:00pm
Sun Jul 21, 7:00pm

Mysterious Circumstances
June 11 - July 21, 2019
Gil Cates Theater
Featuring Hugo Armstrong, John Bobek, Austin Durant, Leo Marks, Ramiz Monsef, Helen Sadler & Alan Tudyk

Inspired by The New Yorker article Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic by David Grann, the play centers around the true story of the mysterious death of Richard Lancelyn Green, the world’s foremost scholar on Sherlock Holmes. After spending two decades searching for the missing papers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Green came close to unlocking the secrets behind Holmes’ creator when he tracked down an elusive box which was said to be cursed.

What is fact and what is fiction? With multiple suspects and competing motives, Green’s death raises questions that may be answered only by Holmes himself. Mysterious Circumstances uses breathtaking theatricality and magic to uncover the mystery behind this true crime, featuring Emmy nominee Alan Tudyk (Spamalot, Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Richard Lancelyn Green & Sherlock Holmes.

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Reviews

"Production values are outstanding. - 3 Stars"

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicles - ...read full review


"Smart, exhilarating, hilarious, cleverly and beautifully mounted, “Mysterious Circumstances” probes the real-life death of a Sherlock Holmes scholar."

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"The play consists of seven actors playing some 26 different characters, as well as “others” too insignificant to identify specifically. And so the stage was a chaos of people coming and going, often dressed in costumes very different from the ones in which they had previously appeared, and delivering their crucial commentary in a variety of nearly impenetrable British accents."

sweet-sour - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Michael Mitnick's play about this story, Mysterious Circumstances, is intriguing and witty, although it falters somewhat toward its conclusion, where the truth overrides the more satisfying fictions. It is receiving an outstanding world premiere production at the Geffen Playhouse, especially benefiting from Alan Tudyk's excellent lead performance and Matt Shakman's sharp and creative direction."

sweet - Terry Morgan - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


"With its interest in character, Mysterious Circumstance is clearly looking to stake out territory deeper than a throwaway on-stage whodunit. At this it largely succeeds. 'I know you enjoy the stories of Sherlock Homes, but you're not inside of one,' Gibner informs a panicked Green. "It's time to accept reality.' Except he is, and it isn't. And besides, what fun would that be? We do love a mystery, but how welcome a solution would also have been."

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


"It’s a jumble of information thrown at us in a variety of ways, but it’s so cunningly constructed that puzzlers and theatergoers alike will be in heaven. Adroitly played by a chameleonic cast of seven on Brett J. Banakis’s puzzle-box set, Shakman uses illusion artists Francis Menotti and David Kwong to create images that will stay with you long after the show..."

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


"The cast is wonderful and filled with LA actors. The set is something of an automated marvel, shifting locations and perspectives and just generally being impressive. And the direction is brisk and confident. We cover a lot of ground very quickly. It’s one of those plays where so much happens and there’s such a momentum driving forward that you get swept up with it... Here’s a play that’s terribly ambitious, told by a group of artists who are really good at their craft - that in the end doesn’t pack the emotional punch or narrative satisfaction you long for. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely. Will it dazzle you? Maybe."

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"If Mysterious Circumstances’ final moments remain rather a tad too mysterious to be fully satisfying, they are perhaps as befits an Unsolved Mystery. (Producers of the upcoming Netflix reboot might want to take note.) What counts most are the two hours that precede them, a theatrical roller-coaster ride well worth getting in line for at the Geffen."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


"Based on true events that occurred in 1894 and 2004, Director Matt Shakman discovered a fascinating article in The New Yorker titled "Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic" by David Grann. He pitched the idea to be turned into a play to Executive Director of the Geffen Playhouse Gil Cates Jr. Playwright Michael Mitnick was raised by a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle aficionado and applied his enthusiastic prose to this true story about Richard Lancelyn Green, a world scholar obsessed about Detective Sherlock Holmes."

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"What’s missing — despite the plethora of on-stage talent (including several of L.A.’s finest local actors — thank you so much, Geffen Playhouse) — is an emotional trigger to draw us in."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Fantasy and reality, past and present, intertwine in Mysterious Circumstances, making for a kind of psychedelic time machine in which Holmes ends up investigating his own possible murder. It’s all very clever and post-modern, but it still failed to connect with me in any kind of visceral fashion... What did fascinate me, though, were the play’s production values. Set Designer Brett J. Banakis, working with projection designers Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, plus Illusion Designers Francis Menotti and David Kwong, put on a magic show replete with fast-changing scenery, walls that folded in and out of themselves, dazzling backdrops…and many other tricks and stunts that defy description. Would that the script were half as good as their work. I came away feeling that the actors also deserved the highest praise possible."

sweet-sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"While “Mysterious Circumstances” may be a little hard to keep up with, it is exceptionally well done, thanks to the intense direction of Matt Shakman and the impeccable work of the extensive cast... So go! You’ll be transfixed."

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Director Matt Shakman and set designer Brett J. Banakis pull out all the stops in creating an immersive, bombastic experience, dispensing liberal amounts of theatrical magic to dazzle us and challenge our perceptions."

sweet - John Paul King - LA Blade - ...read full review


"This metafictional romp, staged with clockwork precision and tongue-in-cheek verve by Geffen Artistic Director Matt Shakman, is merely one layer in the brain-teasing confection that is “Mysterious Circumstances.”"

sweet-sour - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Though I was confused throughout a great deal of this play, I found the actors performances excellent and the staging outstanding."

sweet-sour - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"Brilliantly directed by the Geffen's artistic director Matt Shakman with invaluable help from set designer Brett J. Banakis and projection designers Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, Michael Mitnick’s adaptation is a gem, but it is the production itself that ultimately is the star of show. As the incredibly whimsical and sometimes towering sets evolve into a series of rapidly unfolding vignettes, seven gamely committed actors assay all the roles, led by the tour de force performance of Alan Tudyk as both Lancelyn Green and Sherlock Holmes himself."

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


"Production values are outstanding. - 3 Stars"

sweet - Patricia Foster Rye - Larchmont Chronicles - ...read full review


"Smart, exhilarating, hilarious, cleverly and beautifully mounted, “Mysterious Circumstances” probes the real-life death of a Sherlock Holmes scholar."

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"The play consists of seven actors playing some 26 different characters, as well as “others” too insignificant to identify specifically. And so the stage was a chaos of people coming and going, often dressed in costumes very different from the ones in which they had previously appeared, and delivering their crucial commentary in a variety of nearly impenetrable British accents."

sweet-sour - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Michael Mitnick's play about this story, Mysterious Circumstances, is intriguing and witty, although it falters somewhat toward its conclusion, where the truth overrides the more satisfying fictions. It is receiving an outstanding world premiere production at the Geffen Playhouse, especially benefiting from Alan Tudyk's excellent lead performance and Matt Shakman's sharp and creative direction."

sweet - Terry Morgan - Talkin' Broadway - ...read full review


"With its interest in character, Mysterious Circumstance is clearly looking to stake out territory deeper than a throwaway on-stage whodunit. At this it largely succeeds. 'I know you enjoy the stories of Sherlock Homes, but you're not inside of one,' Gibner informs a panicked Green. "It's time to accept reality.' Except he is, and it isn't. And besides, what fun would that be? We do love a mystery, but how welcome a solution would also have been."

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


"It’s a jumble of information thrown at us in a variety of ways, but it’s so cunningly constructed that puzzlers and theatergoers alike will be in heaven. Adroitly played by a chameleonic cast of seven on Brett J. Banakis’s puzzle-box set, Shakman uses illusion artists Francis Menotti and David Kwong to create images that will stay with you long after the show..."

sweet - Tony Frankel - Stage and Cinema - ...read full review


"The cast is wonderful and filled with LA actors. The set is something of an automated marvel, shifting locations and perspectives and just generally being impressive. And the direction is brisk and confident. We cover a lot of ground very quickly. It’s one of those plays where so much happens and there’s such a momentum driving forward that you get swept up with it... Here’s a play that’s terribly ambitious, told by a group of artists who are really good at their craft - that in the end doesn’t pack the emotional punch or narrative satisfaction you long for. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely. Will it dazzle you? Maybe."

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Steven Stanley
"If Mysterious Circumstances’ final moments remain rather a tad too mysterious to be fully satisfying, they are perhaps as befits an Unsolved Mystery. (Producers of the upcoming Netflix reboot might want to take note.) What counts most are the two hours that precede them, a theatrical roller-coaster ride well worth getting in line for at the Geffen."

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


"Based on true events that occurred in 1894 and 2004, Director Matt Shakman discovered a fascinating article in The New Yorker titled "Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic" by David Grann. He pitched the idea to be turned into a play to Executive Director of the Geffen Playhouse Gil Cates Jr. Playwright Michael Mitnick was raised by a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle aficionado and applied his enthusiastic prose to this true story about Richard Lancelyn Green, a world scholar obsessed about Detective Sherlock Holmes."

sweet - Jill Weinlein - On Stage Blog - ...read full review


Deborah Klugman
"What’s missing — despite the plethora of on-stage talent (including several of L.A.’s finest local actors — thank you so much, Geffen Playhouse) — is an emotional trigger to draw us in."

sweet-sour - Deborah Klugman - Stage Raw - ...read full review


"Fantasy and reality, past and present, intertwine in Mysterious Circumstances, making for a kind of psychedelic time machine in which Holmes ends up investigating his own possible murder. It’s all very clever and post-modern, but it still failed to connect with me in any kind of visceral fashion... What did fascinate me, though, were the play’s production values. Set Designer Brett J. Banakis, working with projection designers Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, plus Illusion Designers Francis Menotti and David Kwong, put on a magic show replete with fast-changing scenery, walls that folded in and out of themselves, dazzling backdrops…and many other tricks and stunts that defy description. Would that the script were half as good as their work. I came away feeling that the actors also deserved the highest praise possible."

sweet-sour - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Cynthia Citron
"While “Mysterious Circumstances” may be a little hard to keep up with, it is exceptionally well done, thanks to the intense direction of Matt Shakman and the impeccable work of the extensive cast... So go! You’ll be transfixed."

sweet - Cynthia Citron - Santa Monica Daily Press - ...read full review


"Director Matt Shakman and set designer Brett J. Banakis pull out all the stops in creating an immersive, bombastic experience, dispensing liberal amounts of theatrical magic to dazzle us and challenge our perceptions."

sweet - John Paul King - LA Blade - ...read full review


"This metafictional romp, staged with clockwork precision and tongue-in-cheek verve by Geffen Artistic Director Matt Shakman, is merely one layer in the brain-teasing confection that is “Mysterious Circumstances.”"

sweet-sour - Margaret Gray - LA Times - ...read full review


Carol Kaufman Segal
"Though I was confused throughout a great deal of this play, I found the actors performances excellent and the staging outstanding."

sweet-sour - Carol Kaufman Segal - Carol's Culture Corner - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder
"Brilliantly directed by the Geffen's artistic director Matt Shakman with invaluable help from set designer Brett J. Banakis and projection designers Kaitlyn Pietras and Jason H. Thompson, Michael Mitnick’s adaptation is a gem, but it is the production itself that ultimately is the star of show. As the incredibly whimsical and sometimes towering sets evolve into a series of rapidly unfolding vignettes, seven gamely committed actors assay all the roles, led by the tour de force performance of Alan Tudyk as both Lancelyn Green and Sherlock Holmes himself."

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review