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David Arquette Stars in Sherlock Holmes at the Warner Theatre

Photo courtesy Bigstock.

David Arquette is no stranger to solving mysteries–or attempting to, anyway. Best known for his role as the bumbling Sheriff Dewey Riley in the Scream films, he’ll don the famous Inverness-tweed cape and take the stage as the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes for a weeklong run at the Warner Theatre.

Sherlock Holmes, a recent adaption by the late playwright Greg Kramer, weaves characters and plotlines from several of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tales into a swift-paced mystery with a modern sheen. Director Andrew Shaver, whose 2013 Montreal production drew sell-out audiences and critical acclaim, will remount the show for a North American tour, arriving in Washington November 17 through 22.

Arquette, whose career is rife with comedic roles bordering on buffoonery, accedes to being an “odd choice” for the role: “I’m a bit of an awkward character, I’ve come to accept–but so is [Sherlock]. In whatever role I’m playing, you find the similarities rather than the differences and lean in to sort of the aspects of your character that match.”

While Kramer’s script hews closely to the original text, spinning its tale in the dank backstreets of turn-of-the-century London, it’s breakneck pace, snarky dialogue and meta-theatrical staging make it ripe for the kind of physicalized comedy Arquette does so well.

His timing is spot on. The eccentric British sleuth is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, with recent film portrayals ranging from Robert Downey Jr.’s tweaky, agitated portrayal to Ian McKellen’s wistful, elegant Holmes. Add two current television shows–on the BBC (the vaguely menacing Benedict Cumberbatch) and CBS (a pampered yet loveable ex-addict Jonny Lee Miller)–and you might say the theater production is cashing in on the zeitgeist.

Arquette acknowledges that the target is to appeal to a new generation of potential Sherlock fans: “We’re trying to do something by getting younger actors involved, to get a younger demographic in to the theater world.” No kidding. James Maslow, from Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, plays Holmes’s partner, Dr. Watson.

Sherlock Holmes starring David Arquette opens at the Warner Theatre on November 17. Tickets $39.95 to $99.95.

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