Indiana Repertory Theatre; directed by Peter Amster
I know just enough of Sherlock Holmes movies to love Jonathan Gillard Daly’s subtly crazed incarnation of the great deducer ... and not enough of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books to care about any deviations from the original. Playwright Steve Dietz’s impeccably smart dialogue gives the aristocratic detective a hint of drug-induced paranoia that suggests, just perhaps, Holmes is making up half of what he says about nemesis Professor Moriarty. As Holmes teeters on the brink of either death or a winter-summer romance, the aging man-boy bares an infinite intellect that is equaled only by his gaping emotional immaturity. Holmes has met his match, you see, not just in the evil Moriarty, but in the beautiful songstress and deductress Irene Adler. With Russell Metheny’s lean and swiftly rotating scenery and Tracy Dorman’s rich period costumes, the spot-on players pull us back into a 19th century London creeping with fog, shadow and deceit. If Holmes’ self-congratulatory mastery of detail ever makes us feel stupid, Robert K. Johansen acts the clown — as the cop on the street, errand boy and jumpy safecracker — to make us feel at least one cut above. Throughout, the fun is inescapable. Through Oct. 11; 317-635-5252, www.irtlive.com.