May 01, 2013 - Over the weekend, Oxford Middle School's Drama Club brought a play to the stage that had it all – time travel, a mental institution and of course, Sherlock Holmes.
Front row (from left): Megan Richter, Chloe Lopiccolo, Emma Vawter, Beth Devlin, Luke Baldiga, Giovannin Paese, Joseph Wilkins, Ian Malinowski , Abby Smiles and Claire Alexander. Middle row (from left): Kate Marsh, Jacob Donovan, Tori Spring, Connor Waple, Ka’von Jackson, Maggie Hartman, Kendall Todd, Ben McBride and Georgia Waters. Back row (from left): Amanda Morrison, Dryden Calcaterra, Fiona Corcoran, Gloria Branch, Natalie Karnegis, Tyler Caldwell, Dylan McNeil, Hannah Schonfeld, Hallie Vawter, Dylan Koss, Trenton Sabo, Tia Gilless, Audrey Miller and Curtis Johnson. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
"The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes" mixed comedy and mystery by featuring the famous detective and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, on their very first case.
"We had two great shows," said OMS teacher Jack Gray, who directed the play. "This was an amazing and sharp cast, and (the) crew was really on top of their game.
"Jacob Donovan truly captured the intensity of Sherlock Holmes. Trenton Sabo shined as the dependable Doctor Watson."
Hired by H.G. Wells to find a manuscript written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the two end up in their client's time machine, push a few buttons and land in the 21st century.
Holmes and Watson find themselves at the Freudly Institute where they meet mental patients who suffer from grandiose delusions that they're famous people – both real and fictional – such as Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Count Dracula, George Washington, Lizzie Borden, Queen Victoria and Tarzan.
"It has a lot of very interesting characters," Gray said.
Gray noted the Chaplin and Marx characters, who were famous comedic actors during the early 20th century, were not originally part of the play. He and the students wrote them in to include "some classic Vaudeville-type gags."
These "short, silent" scenes seemed to be "the crowd-pleaser," according to Gray.
Dylan McNeil, who played Chaplin, and Tyler Caldwell, who portrayed the horn-honking Marx brother, "studied Vaudeville sketches and old film clips to come up with some entertaining bits of physical comedy," Gray said.
Given who all these mental patients think they are, Holmes ends up being treated like one of them, while Watson is viewed as his doctor who's just playing along.
But when the body of an unknown victim is found on the institute's grounds, Holmes sets out to solve the mystery and prove that he is in fact the legendary detective.
"It's supposed to be a young Holmes, so as the play progresses, you see him developing his classic persona as well as his classic attire," Gray noted.
Gray said ultimately, it was a successful production made possible by an "excellent group of kids."
"This is one of the best groups I've ever had," he said.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.