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Theater review: “The Very Great Grandson of Sherlock Holmes”

I am always interested in seeing what shows are put on by the students here at Saint Vincent, but when I heard The Players were going to perform a parody of Sherlock Holmes, I was especially intrigued. Although I wouldn’t consider myself an avid fan, I have read several of the stories, seen a couple of the movies, and watched the BBC show. I’ve enjoyed my forays into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s world previously, and this made me excited to see what the show would do with the character.

As I walked into the Carey Center auditorium, I was greeted with timely music to help settle the audience into the setting of the show. Once I took my seat, I immediately noticed the set that had been constructed on stage. I was very impressed. The set consisted of one main living room, where the bulk of the play takes place, and a side office that served as the setting for the beginning and ending of the play. The main part, the living room, was packed with details that made the room seem very realistic. There was a sofa with a throw blanket, a bookshelf filled with books and homely feeling pottery and sculptures, a stone fireplace, and more. The structure also did a good job of conveying depth. I must commend Christopher Plummer, the set designer, and all the people who helped him create the set. I thought that it was one of the best sets I’ve seen in a Saint Vincent show.

After I had completed my observation of the set, the lights dimmed, and the play began. The play followed the descendants of the original Holmes and Watson: Sherwood Holmes, played by John Wojtechko, a senior communication and English major, and Doctor Watson, played by Cameron Brennan, a junior communication major. The two characters are approached by Meg Baker, played by Micaela Kreuzwieser, a sophomore English major, who asks them to investigate after the appearance of a note threatening her employer’s life. Sherwood is reluctant to take the case, but is convinced by Watson that it is in his best interests to do so. Sherwood’s inheritance is dependent on him being a detective, and it has been awhile since he has solved a case. Sherwood is thus convinced that he should take the case, lest risk being cut off from his trust fund.

Once Sherwood is on the case, the action moves into the living room of

the Creastley Mansion. Sherwood and the audience are then introduced to a colorful cast of quirky characters. Sherwood is unable to prevent the murder of the master of the house, however, and all of the characters become suspects. Sherwood has to struggle to live up to his ancestor’s name and solve the case before another murder is committed. By the end of the play, he is able to rise to the occasion and reveal the murderer.

The students acted all of the characters very well. The cast was very balanced and there were no roles that were under-performed. Each cast member was able to pull off their characters’ personalities effectively, and this made for quite the amusing show. The chemistry between the two leads, Wojtechko and Brennan, was especially entertaining. The dynamic of Watson as a sidekick who is getting hurt in Sherwood’s place was a fun way to parody the classic duo. Each of the other members of the cast got their moment to shine when it came to portraying their individual quirks that threatened the investigation. The cast was able to work together beautifully to bring the story to life.

I enjoyed watching “The Very Great Grandson of Sherlock Holmes.” The director, Greggory Brandt, and cast did a wonderful job bringing the show to life, and the set helped make it seem all the more real. I eagerly anticipate the next show that the Saint Vincent theater community will put on for us.

Full disclosure: Wojtechko, Kreuzwieser, and Matthew Wojtechko, who were all in the production, currently serve on The Review staff.

Photos: Megan Paullet

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