Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review of Miss Holmes at Lifeline Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Miss Holmes. It was by Christopher M. Walsh and it was directed by Paul S. Holmquist. It was inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was about the scenario where Sherlock Holmes (Katie McLean Hainsworth) and Dr. Watson (Mandy Wash) were women. I think that is a really cool idea. I've always wanted there to be more female lead characters in books, and I love Sherlock Holmes, so I really really loved this play. It is about Sherlock and Watson on an investigation about whether this detective inspector Thomas Chapman (John Henry Roberts) has been murdering all his wives and it is about Holmes and Watson trying to make a friendship at the same time. Everyone around them is skeptical because they are women, but of course they prove them wrong. I really enjoyed this show. It was a super fun show to watch and I'm really glad somebody made this play.

I found it sad and scary how women were treated in the Victorian period of the story. It was basically if you were married you were just an object to make you husband look good. And if you were single you existed to get a husband. Holmes and Watson are rebelling against that. They rebel by living with each other and by not trying to get married. And Watson was also a doctor before she even met Holmes, and that was really awesome because there were not many women doctors in the world at all at that time. Holmes is rebelling by being the badass that she is and showing that she is physically stronger and smarter than five men combined. You sympathize more with her than with a male Sherlock Holmes. Both the male version and female version act pretty crazy, but the female version is always in danger of being treated as crazy and locked in a mental institution even if she is just doing normal things. That seemed really unfair. I think it might be because there is an ideal for how women in that time period were supposed to act and if they don't act that way it is assumed they are crazy. If you liked the original characters, you'll still like them. The different genders mean they have different problems than the original Holmes and Watson, but they have the same personalities--they are just treated differently about their personalities. I liked how instead of the Baker Street Irregulars, who are a bunch of street urchins Sherlock uses to get information in the stories, this Sherlock has her Knitting Circle who are a bunch of women throughout London who spy and listen to gossip and give her the information.

Dr. Michael Stamford (Michael Reyes) was one of the funniest characters. He had a very uptight personality and he thought that he was more amazing at everything than he was. He wants to marry Watson and protect her from the world, but it seems like she protects him more. Lestrade (Christopher W. Jones) also learned the same lesson, that women can take care of themselves even if they are (sadly) thought to be the weaker sex. He learns to respect Sherlock's intelligence and not think of it as an embarrassment. Mrs Hudson (Abie Irabor) doesn't seem to understand what women are capable of either, even though she is a woman. I thought that was another good element to the story because some women are not feminists even though they are women. But the same actor also plays a doctor who does completely understand the power of women: they are as intelligent and important to society as men. I thought that was some really interesting double casting. Mycroft (Christopher Hainsworth) understands the power of his sister, but not of women in general. He feels as if he is superior to her because he is a man and in the government and that makes him feel powerful. I do think he does care about her, but they show it just by meeting up just once a week for tea.

Thomas Chapman did certainly know the power of women because his wife was very smart and meticulous; she is very good with details. I thought Chapman was very suspicious from the beginning but--and maybe this is just because he is played by my dad--I also felt sorry for him as well as his wife Lizzie (Kate Nawrocki). The patriarchy makes both of them very messed up people. They are messed up for different reasons; he has too much power and she has too little power being a woman to get noticed. Edwin Greener (LaQuin Groves) looks like a tough guy, but by the end you see more than that side of him and I really liked that about his character.

People who would like this show are people who like feminism, Sherlock Holmes stories, and knitting circles. I think that people should definitely go see this show. I think you definitely need to see it to understand all the awesomeness. There were a lot of spoilers so I couldn't really tell you the full awesomeness of the story.

Photos: Suzanne Plunkett

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