T. Anderson as Sherlock Holmes, left, and Jim
Owczarski as Dr. Watson in
“The Secret Life of
Sherlock Holmes” by the Milwaukee Entertainment
MILWAUKEE - A fictional icon, Sherlock Holmes continues
to fascinate audiences with his cerebral gift for
deductive reasoning and his quirky ways.
Long after his creator Conan Doyle’s death, other
dramatic artists, such as Jeremy Paul, have kept him
alive with new details about his personal life and his
relationship with his partner and friend Dr. Watson.
Both men are fascinating characters, and Randall T.
Anderson, an actor frequently popping up in many
theaters, and a less-known actor, Jim Owczarski, capture
their personalities and their unusual connection.
In “The Secret of Sherlock Holmes,” Watson, in a
way, reverses roles with Holmes. He’s the one solving
the mystery, the mystery of Holmes himself.
Watson has just returned from the Afghan War wounded and
is temporarily lost. After being nursed back to health
and spending his savings, he realized that he had to
change his lifestyle and move to more modest quarters.
It was through this search that he was introduced by an
acquaintance to Sherlock Holmes, another man looking to
share expenses and some level of companionship.
When people decide to share living quarters, there are
always some surprising discoveries, even between people
who thought they knew each other well. In this story,
they were really two strangers coming together, and
their co-habitation evolved into quite a unique
As the play opens, Amanda
Hull, set designer, gives us a moderately plush
apartment with all the furniture covered in sheets. It
parallels the theme of the story itself, the gradual
process of uncovering what lies underneath the surface.
As Watson is plumbing the depths of Holmes, we are doing
the same with both characters. We end up liking Watson
more, I might add.
Though not precise in terms of years, these two men
lived together twice - once before Watson married,
though they still kept in contact and Watson still
traveled with Holmes sometimes, and again after Watson
was widowed. And then there is a third time - this time
an unexpected coming together.
Though there were many surprises along the way, mostly
about Holmes and his quirks and habits, the final secret
occurs near the end of the play, and I’ll leave that
one for you to discover for yourself.
Holmes, despite his success, was prone to mood swings
and often indulged in cocaine to try to capture the same
high he experienced when working on a challenging case.
Except for Watson, he was almost friendless and
seemingly incapable of much empathy. He lived by his
head rather than his heart, and yet was quite attached
to Watson and supposedly fell in love once in his life
with a famous opera star.
Because both actors were so skillful and engaging, and
Paul’s dialogue so well-written, we were transfixed
throughout. Not a typical Holmes story, but one that
provided its own fascination. Each human being is a bit
of a mystery, even to himself, and certainly to others.
“The Secret of Sherlock
The play runs through Feb. 10 in the Brumder Mansion,
3046 W. Wisconsin Ave.,
Call 414-388-9104 or visit