From terrifying chase scenes to intricate, almost uncanny deductions, to endearing quirks that make even the most coldly logical detective lovable, readers have enjoyed exploring the world of Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson for nearly 132 years. In a new take on a cast of iconic characters, students at Muscatine High School theatre department will perform Miss Holmes as this year’s fall play.
Set in the 1880s, Miss Holmes explores how the iconic detective stories could have played out with Sherlock Holmes as a woman. A detective specializing in helping other women solve cases that the police refuse, Holmes, along with her companion Dorothy Watson, one of London’s few women doctors at the time, finds herself helping Lizzie Chapman. A newly married woman, Chapman must learn about her police inspector husband’s dark connection to some ghastly murders before tragedy strikes.
Looking to change up the theatre department’s repertoire, drama advisor, Rene Mauck, serendipitously stumbled upon Miss Holmes while searching for a fall play. “I was actually looking for something . . . serious, but I was having a hard time finding a dramatic show . . .. I read an article on [Miss Holmes] and it was a great fit,” she explained. Through exploring how people in 1880s London would react to professional women, diving into the play’s rich Victorian English, and balancing humor and suspense in a classic murder mystery format, Miss Holmes presents MHS actors with a new, delightful challenge.
The cast of Miss Holmes shares Mauck’s enthusiasm for the play’s fresh take on some of English literature’s most popular characters. Ana Poffenbaugh, a junior playing Watson shared, “I like the idea of getting to play [someone] from the [1880’s], especially a woman who had to fight for everything she had.”
Lucas Burkamper, a senior playing Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s older brother, seconded her thoughts, saying, “it’s a lot of fun. It’s a show that turns the social norms on their head for this time period, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Finally, Chloe Finn, a senior playing Miss Holmes herself loved having the experience of acting in a murder mystery. “This play intrigued me [because] I’ve never been in a murder mystery before,” she elaborated.
The MHS theatre department will perform Miss Holmes on Friday and Saturday November 8th and 9th. The show will start at 7:00 pm both evenings, and tickets cost $6 at the door. A treat for Sherlock Holmes fans and mystery lovers alike, having fun at Miss Holmes will prove elementary.