Langley theatre company offers new kind of whodunnit

What does Sherlock Holmes have to do with H.G. Wells and time travel? Not a lot normally, but producer and director Faith Toronchuk wasn’t looking for something normal for her latest Imagine That! Productions show.

“I was just looking for plays with something we haven’t done yet,” Toronchuck noted. “And I haven’t done a mystery before… it ends up being both a comedy and a mystery.”

In The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes written by Craig Sodaro, it’s Sherlock Holmes’ first case. It’s a good thing Dr. Watson is by his side to keep him focused.

“This is his [Holmes’] first case, he’s still a bit of a bumbling wannabe,” said Toronchuck.

Another requirement was that the script could accommodate a larger number of actors to ensure that everyone who wanted a part could have one.

She explained that not many plays have as many characters as this one does – a total of 15. All but one or two of the performers are from Langley. 

While the show itself is family-friendly (for those old enough to sit still through a live two-hour performance), it came about through a request from the adult actors who work with Toronchuk. 

It seems they wanted a performance for the adult actors. 

“The majority of our cast [for this performance] are people over the age of 17 who have done performances before with Imagine That! Productions,” Toronchuk said.

About half of the actors have gone through the company’s youth program.

“That [the adult-aged actors asking for a performance unique to them] is what got me thinking to do a play like this,” she said. “They run from age 17 to 70, that’s our oldest.”

In the play, Holmes and Watson are on a case for none-other-than H.G. Wells. The novelist has hired the detectives to find a manuscript by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

There’s a mishap, of course, when the sleuths end up in Wells’ time machine and accidentally find themselves in the 21st century where they meet a rather diverse and interesting set of characters. 

The mystery must be solved, but not without a lot of laughs.

“You have to be prepared for everything,” Toronchuk said. “Glover Road is very busy. It’s one of the main thoroughfares for police, fire and ambulances, and when they go racing by… the audience wants to hear you, so you wait. It’s just some of the general human things you have to be prepared for.”

Cast members include Derek Usher as Sherlock Holmes and Jared Erickson as Dr. Watson as well as Wendy Klassen, Gloria Nickel, Liam Sullivan, Janet Erickson, Ted Staunton, Bria Magra, Aisley Komatsu, Paul Kobilke, Emily Wheeler, Rachel Kobilke, Serena Jackson, Kelsey Lock, and Hannah Cenaiko.

The Secret Case of Sherlock Holmes has performances Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 22 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from cast and crew members, through Brown Paper Tickets, at www.imaginethatplace.com, or at the box office at The Venue.

Performances will be at The Venue, 5708 Glover Rd.

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