Erin Roche is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Vocal Performance, a strong theater background, and an even stronger desire to showcase the best that Chicago talent has to offer.
Photo Credit: Dominick Maino
Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MYSTERY OF PORTAGE PARK at Filament Theatre
By Erin Roche
Do you remember what it was like to see your world as a game? I picture myself as a child, a small flame-haired thing, running around heavily-wooded Defiance, Missouri, thinking my little universe is but an ever-stretching scene of discovery. An oddly shaped stone, a lost pen cap, the first summer firefly– everything in sight was a clue to unraveling the wonder of the everyday. I was happy to catch a glimpse of that feeling again this weekend with SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MYSTERY OF PORTAGE PARK, watching merrily on as adults and children alike take delight in the seemingly ordinary world around them.
Adventure smacks right into you as soon as you enter this gem of the Northwest side. Given a SHERLOCK pin and a title of “Portage Park Irregular,” you transform from audience member to master sleuth, ready to help Sherlock crack the case. At first, you think you are merely being ushered into a “Key to the Neighborhood Ceremony” (complete with a Portage Park anthem), but the plot thickens. A small, unassuming box has been stolen, and the suspects have scattered…but is there something more nefarious at play? Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and their “duplicates” (rather silly cloned versions of the famous pair) escort the audience—separated into four search parties—off to solve their next great riddle. The game’s afoot! And something else that’s afoot? You! Either walking or biking, you take to the streets of Portage Park to discover clues about the culprit and a larger story to be revealed… But as River Song says to The Doctor, “Spoilers!” So as to preserve the ending for you, dear reader (and hopefully future “Portage Park Irregular”), I will only say that this play turns locations such as a hidden church basement bowling alley, the Six Corners intersection, and a Sears Key Shop into the stuff of whimsy.
SHERLOCK is the perfect summer activity, combining classic mystery with neighborhood charm to create an immersive, family-friendly theatrical experience (actually four different experiences, as each group uncovers different clues). Playwright Jessica Wright Buha intentionally wrote this spin on a Sherlock Holmes classic to be “light and fun,” something that the whole family could enjoy while promoting a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere surrounding the Historic Six Corners Shopping District.
It was Henry David Thoreau that said, “The world is but a canvas to the imagination,” and this is certainly evident here at Filament Theater, as the show wraps up with a rousing chorus of “All You Need is Fun” set to the tune of “All You Need is Love.” Fans of fringe-y, wacky, fourth-wall-demolishing theater, this is a must-see (or rather, must-do) adventure. Don’t forget to bring a keenly curious and imaginative child (inner or otherwise).
Tickets to SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MYSTERY OF PORTAGE PARK are $20 and are available at filamenttheatre.org.
Attendees may choose between reserving a walking ticket or a biking ticket (BYOB: Bring Your Own Bike).