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Drama Dock offers up a intriguing whodunit
Islanders who are interested in murder most foul would do well to indulge their sensationalist tastes by attending Drama Dock’s upcoming show, “Sherlock’s Veiled Secret,” set to open this weekend at Vashon High School.
The show, penned by Seattle playwright K.C. Brown with an assist from her husband Arne Zazlov, a well-known actor and director, provides a fresh take on the famous detective. Here, Sherlock is an elderly gent, coming out of retirement to solve one last case and in the process, wrap up the emotional loose ends of his tumultuous life.
“In this play, Sherlock is a fully fleshed human being,” said Drama Dock artistic director Elizabeth Ripley, who is directing the show. “We see him as we’ve never seen him before, as a man who can love and make mistakes and regret them, and we learn all of this through the eyes of his daughter.”
That’s right — Sherlock Holmes is a family man in this interpretation. In the play, the brilliant sleuth (played by Drama Dock veteran Chris Ott), summons a beautiful young London sculptress (played by India Castle) to his estate to ask for her help in a blackmail case. It is only after she arrives that she learns the shocking truth about her paternity.
Ripley has assembled an accomplished cast of some of her favorite Island actors to tackle the juicy roles in the show.
Marshall and Stephanie Murray, who most recently delighted audiences with their campy, over-the-top performances in “The Rocky Horror Show,” both have important roles in the show. Drama Dock stalwarts Sue DeNies, Peter Kreitner and Dianna Ammon also have parts in the play.
“Thanks to Marshall Murray we have some pretty broad comedy in the show,” Ripley said. “He steals scene after scene.”
Ripley said she has also loved working with Ott, someone she said was typecast in the role of Sherlock Holmes.
“He’s quick, hot-tempered and then totally laid back,” she said, with a laugh. “That’s Chris Ott.”
Ott, for his part, agrees with Ripley.
“When I first starting reading the part, I realized either he’s channeling me or I’m channeling him,” Ott said in an on-camera interview for a behind-the-scenes video being made about the production. “We are so similar in nature and how we approach life.”
A few of Ripley’s regular collaborators are working behind the scenes, making the play a family affair.
Lillian Ripley, who is Elizabeth’s daughter, designed the set made up of modular pieces that take the show from the summer after the end of World War I back in time to 1892. Nathan Ott, son of Chris, has designed the lights.
The play also features spooky sounds by Island musician and composer Christopher Overstreet.
All in all, Ripley said, it’s a show that should result in a fully rounded night of suspenseful fun for Island theater lovers.
“It’s a mystery, so there are serious bits, and then there are times you say ‘that’s so sad,’” Ripley said. “And then there are times I just start laughing.”
“Sherlock’s Veiled Secret” opens at Vashon High School’s theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and will continue with 7:30 p.m. performances on April 14, 19, 20 and 21. Sunday matinees will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday and April 22. Tickets, $7.50 to $12.50, are on sale at Vashon Bookshop and at the door.