Murder, mystery, drama, comedy

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 04:02
‘Sherlock Holmes’ takes the stage in Eagle River
John Fairfield, left, portraying Dr. Watson, and Ted Carney, as Sherlock Holmes, act out a scene from “Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead.” The play continues Friday and Saturday, April 5-6 at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy at 7 p.m.

Mike Barsalou took his time selecting the right script for his directorial debut.

He started with about 15, then narrowed the list down to three. Ultimately, Barsalou chose “Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead.”

“I just kept coming back to this one,” he said.

The play combines mystery, drama and comedy, which attracted Barsalou to the production.

“It’s a really, really good script,” he said.

Every time Barsalou reads the play, he finds something new.

“I’m not bored with it yet,” he said.

The show continues Friday and Saturday, April 5-6 at the Eleanor Braendel Theater at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy in Eagle River. The play, which runs Fridays and Saturdays through April 13, starts at 7 p.m. each night.

The play follows fiction’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his sidekick, Dr. Watson, who are on the case after a servant is murdered at Blackmead Manor.

While the show offers all the mystery the audience can handle, there’s also plenty of comedic relief, Barsalou said.

“This is a funny play,” he said.

The final product is much more than just Barsalou’s vision.

“The cast puts their own style into it,” he said.

Much like the play itself, directing for the first time is a mystery, Barsalou said.

“It’s scary,” he said. “There’s so many unknowns.

“It’s a mystery, like ‘Sherlock Holmes.’”

The production is different from the recent Hollywood films about Sherlock Holmes starting Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, Barsalou said, but has some similarities.

“It’s not the same story as the movies,” he said. “But it has the same elements.”

While Barsalou didn’t know which script he was going to direct for his first show, he knew he wanted a mystery. The cast works hard to conceal the killer’s identity and keep the audience guessing, he said.

“That’s the fun of it,” Barsalou said.

Advanced tickets are $14 for ages 13 and older, $12 for seniors, military and children 12 and younger or $15 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit or call 694-8909.

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