Why did Theatreworks/USA's pocket-size musical for young people, "Sherlock Holmes and the Red-Headed League," turn out to be such a rare treat at Caltech's Ramo Auditorium?
Elementary, my dear Watson.
The New York-based touring company believes children's theater deserves adult professionalism. In this tuneful romp, that means nonstop humor, fluid staging, impeccable timing, a captivating score and a first-rate cast.
With an eye toward humor, playwrights John Forster and Greer Woodward have taken great liberties with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original story. There's plenty of action, from William Fleet Lively's effervescent choreography to the energetic fencing scenes directed by Steve Andresen.
Heading the cast, Kenneth Krugman looks and sounds every lanky inch the part of Holmes. Linda Geley's costumes capture turn-of-the-century London; music by Rick Cummins, with lyrics by Woodward, is crisp and punchy. Director Peter Webb pulls it all together with a sure hand.
For ages 7 to adult, this is family theater at its best.
At El Camino College's Marsee Auditorium today, 2 p.m. Tickets: $4-$10. (213) 329-5345 or (800) 832-ARTS.