Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush sounds better than it actually is. Not only does the title of this world premiere at the North Coast Rep suggest excitement and intrigue, but its characters include the most famous consulting detective of all time, the faithful Dr. Watson and that legend of the Old West Wyatt Earp. But Joseph Vass’ story, in which Holmes and Watson journey to Alaska to prove the innocence of a client back in London—an incongruous premise right from the start—is overly complex and sluggishly presented. The decision to interject music (piano, violin and a couple of live performances) during all the banter and exposition is a wise one, for it facilitates an emotional connection to the audience missing in the production as a whole.
Jason Maddy and Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper are capable in Holmes’ and Watson’s shoes, though they are saddled with all the usual Sherlockian tropes. Richard Baird is a terse, occasionally wry Earp, but a historical figure as large as life as Earp was needs more to do in this tale. Still, it’s the overstuffed storytelling that hamstrings this production.
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush runs through Feb. 14 at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. $43-$50. northcoastrep.org
Imagine having Jerry Lewis at his most outrageous running wild in your living room. Your eardrums, your most precious possessions and your patience all take a beating. On top of that, he looks like a dropout from computer fix-it school. That’s Rick Steadman, the guest who comes to dinner and assumes he’s never leaving in Larry Shue’s unchained comedy The Nerd, the inaugural show in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s 45th season.
The trouble is the eponymous nerd’s antics wear thin very quickly. His Act One game of “Shoes and Socks,” with all of the attendees at dull-as-dishwater Willum Cubbert’s (Mike Buckley) birthday party forced to wear grocery bags over their heads, is hysterical. But by Act 2 the silliness has extended to everyone on stage, and you’ll yearn for the tragic relief of a dark Jacobean drama. Star David Heath, as “the nerd,” must be commended, however, for inspiring such infuriation.
The Nerd runs through Feb. 21 at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. $24-$78; lambsplayers.org
Outside Mullingar: Written by award-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley, this acclaimed romcom set in rural Ireland tells the story of two 40-something neighbors falling in love despite their families feuding. Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, it opens Jan. 21 at the Lyceum Space in the Gaslamp. sdrep.org
The Last Five Years: This romantic musical tells the story of a writer and an actress by working backward through their entire relationship through song. Written by Jason Robert Brown, it opens Jan. 22 at PowPAC Community Theatre in Poway. powpac.org
McGuire: Cotter Smith stars in this one-man play about iconic Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire. Written by legendary play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg, it opens Jan. 25 for two performances at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
Sylvia : A couple of empty nesters are forced to confront underlying issues in their relationship after adopting a dog in A.R. Gurney’s comedic romp. It runs through Jan. 24 at the New Village Arts Theatre in Carlsbad. newvillagearts.org
Coyote in a Fence : Based on a true story, Bruce Graham’s play about two very different death row inmates challenges audiences to reconsider guilt and innocence. It runs through Feb. 6 at OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista. onstageplayhouse.info
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Great Nome Gold Rush : This world premiere play sees the famous British sleuth traveling to Alaska in an attempt to prove a client’s innocence. Written by Joseph Vass, it runs through Feb. 14 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach. northcoastrep.org
The Nerd : Larry Shue’s comedy about a geeky architect whose life gets a little more exciting when an old comrade shows up at his door. Directed by Robert Smyth, it runs through Feb. 14 at the Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. lambsplayers.org
When the Rain Stops Falling : This multi-generational drama centers on Gabriel York, who fears that a fish falling from the sky will bring the end of the world. Presented by Cygnet Theatre Company, it runs through Feb. 14 at the Old Town Theatre. cygnettheatre.com