Sherlock-with-a-twist play by Muskegon native running in Manistee

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Peninsula Players (Wisconsin) Maggie Kettering as Dr. Dorothy Watson and Cassandra Bissell as Miss Sherlock Holmes are shown in their 2018 production. For a video discussing their enthusiasm, and the director’s, for the play, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7vs3BmCACA

– PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS WALSH

By Cynthia Price

Positive review has followed positive review for native Muskegonite Chris Walsh’s play Miss Holmes, which is being produced by the Manistee Civic Players Oct. 18-20 and 24-26.

 “Christopher M. Walsh’s ‘Miss Holmes’ offers a cunning and highly enjoyable gender-bent take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s maddeningly brilliant detective,” says Kerry Reid in the Chicago Tribune.

“... It’s fun, it’s thoughtful, it’s compelling and empowering and unexpected,” according to Allison Shoemaker of Time Out Chicago.

But the most interesting (though possibly biased) is from the playwright’s dad, Michael  Walsh:?“This is a well told tale that contrasts Victorian sensibilities – especially regarding gender roles – with our own time. We saw the Chicago opening and it was an entertaining night.”

According to Mike, a former Muskegon Chronicle reporter who later became a lawyer, Chris Walsh will be present for the Manistee production August 26. (The Friday and Saturday productions are at 7:30 with Sunday matinees at 2:00.)

Says Chris, “One night my wife and I were watching [the CBS Sherlock Holmes show] Elementary. Watson being a woman is part of what made it interesting, but since it’s in modern times, we were saying that one of the things that hadn’t really been explored were the gender dynamics of the original setting. We were just sitting on the couch talking about it and about 45 minutes laster we had the idea.”
Walsh is one of the lucky ones who is able to makes his livelihood acting and writing plays, and since 2010 he has worked with Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, which specializes in adaptations of literary works.

Comments Walsh, who is a 1991 graduate of Mona Shores High School, “My first theater experience was with Lou Payment, though I was in choir too. It really was a class trip to Chicago where we saw a production of Les Miserables that cemented it for me. I just thought, ‘Oh, I really want to do that.’”

Walsh went to Columbia College in Chicago and ended up staying. He has written several other plays, some with song (collaborating with Christopher Kriz), and has received excellent reviews for his acting talent involving words like “terrific,” “magnificent” and “perfect comedic timing.”

Ann Genson is the director of the Manistee production. “I know the director a little bit from community theater in Muskegon in the early 1990s,” Walsh says, noting that he has not yet seen that particular performance, which will feature the music of popular Victorian composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

Tickets are available at the door or by calling 231-723-7188.

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