Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol
By Laureen F. Guenther
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol opens at Rosebud Theatre, Friday, November 2.
“It is a delightful mash-up of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and a traditional Sherlock Holmes story,” says Peter Church, who plays Dr. Watson. “Sherlock is our humbug and Watson is fighting to preserve the spirit of Christmas. … It is fully a Christmas story and it is fully a mystery and fully a ghost story.”
“(Sherlock Holmes) slumps into a terrible, profound depression, and loses some of his humanity in chemistry,” Church says. “Instead of criminology, trying to help people, he becomes coldly fascinated with the chemical. And it’s that that triggers his visit from the spirits.”
The first visit is from Holmes’ nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
“It’s Moriarty saying, I’ve come back because you caused my death,” Church says. “I’ve come back as part of my chance for redemption to herald your visitation from three spirits.”
“Holmes goes on a journey,” he says, “looking at his past, his present, and his future, and where he may end up if he continues to reject the relationships in his life.”
Sherlock Holmes is played by Nathan Schmidt. Moriarty is played by Travis Friesen. Mrs. Hudson, Holmes’ loyal housekeeper, is played by Jeany Snider.
Each of the other eight cast members, six of whom are students at Rosebud School of the Arts, plays two or more roles. “For Jeany and me,” Church says, “we play our characters across multiple, different eras as Sherlock travels through the past, present and future. It’s one of those really delightful challenges for an actor, being able to extrapolate. We generally have to extrapolate how the character got to that point in the play, but here we get to project into the future as well.”
This show offers delightful surprises, he says, both for those who love A Christmas Carol and Sherlock Holmes, and for those who aren’t as familiar with either story.
Morris Ertman, the director, is focusing, Church says, on “directing a story that, even if you’re not familiar with either of these stories, you can walk in and be fascinated with the inexplicable nature of love and relationships.”
“Why would Mrs. Hudson or Watson stick around when (Sherlock) has such volatile mood swings and substance abuse and he can make you feel so foolish because of his great intellect? And yet people stick by him,” Church says.
“In this case, when he’s going through the trials of the Christmas spirits, it’s uncovering what keeps us bound to each other and why don’t we walk away and give up on people.”
That is the heart of the story, Church says, and the real message of Christmas.
“Like the original Christmas story, this production is, ultimately, about love, grace, and reconciliation,” he says. “Sherlock starts the play by rejecting the love and grace offered to him by his community, but through his journey with the spirits on Christmas Eve, he learns the danger of isolation, pride, and ‘disdain for those who are (his) fellow travelers to the grave’. The production powerfully demonstrates the importance of receiving love even when we may feel unworthy.”
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol will be performed in Rosebud’s Opera House, November 2 to December 23. For tickets and more information, call 1-800-267-7553 or go to www.rosebudtheatre.com.