Holiday mystery makes its debut

This Christmas, the Chemainus Theatre Festival is debuting a holiday mystery

This Christmas, the Chemainus Theatre Festival is debuting a holiday mystery, a comedic drama of Victorian tradition and literary novelty, unwrapped for the first time in Canada.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol is a cheerful case of solving “who you are, and what you will become.” The all-ages show starts Nov. 21 and runs for four weeks.

The re-imagined story, written by Seattle playwright John Longenbaugh, is a clever blend of two well-loved classics. After being presumed dead for three years, a hardened Sherlock Holmes resurfaces feeling dark and ill-natured. Tired of solving crimes, and in a thoroughly Scroogey-spirit, he has concluded that early retirement is his only option. No one, not even the abundantly cheerful Dr. Watson, can puzzle-out what is bothering the crotchety detective. And thus, the Christmas mystery begins. Before the night is over, Holmes is forced to face the ghost of his great enemy Professor Moriarty, the memory of his lost love, the chaos that results from abandoning his work and, finally, a terrifying future. Before morning, he must deduce where his higher purpose lies.

The well-known stories and characters are renewed in clever circumstances, which offer audiences a fresh way to enjoy what the Seattle Times calls “smart, witty and fun… holiday diversion.” A break from the normalcy of the season is exactly what The Chemainus Theatre Festival hopes to celebrate with audiences.

For director Mark DuMez, bringing this Sherlock to Canada for the first time is an exciting opportunity.

“This show is a delicate balance and an ingenious combination — watching Sherlock track the mystery of his own future,” he said. “He’s replaced love and spirit for cold, hard reason — and we get to watch him, along with a few other literary figures, work out the sleuthing and then, remarkable conclusion.”

Equally inspired by the challenge is an exquisite cast of actors, including Wade Bogert-O’Brien as Watson, Matthew Hendrickson as Lestrade, Michelle Lieffertz as Mrs. Hudson, Tim Machin as Moriarty, Jonathan Mason as Young Holmes, Jess Amy Shead as Becky, and Mark Uhre as Sherlock Holmes.

Backstage, the conundrums continued for the artistic team who must unify an array of times, places, and creative genres. Solving the theatrical brain-teasers are stage manager David Baughan, lighting and projection designer Craig Alfredson, sound designer Paul Tedeschini and set and costume designer Drew Facey.

Enjoy Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol from Nov. 21 to Dec. 22, with matinee and evening performances, including complimentary “talk-backs” on Wednesday with the cast and crew, at The Chemainus Theatre Festival. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738 or visiting www.chemainustheatrefestival.ca.

— Submitted by the Chemainus Theatre Festival