Niles High School to perform ‘Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror’

NILES — Those who love a good mystery can put their clue solving skills to the test this Friday as Niles High School students perform “Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror.”

The play will debut at 7 p.m. Friday at the high school, 1441 Eagle St. A second performance will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $4 for staff, students and seniors and $5 for general admission.

Director David Smith described the play as adventure, mystery and romance. He said he worked collaboratively with student directors to select the fall production. Ultimately, Smith said they felt it would be a good play because of its opportunity to challenge student actors. Students had to learn longer lines and master a British accent for their roles.

“I hope the audience will be able to see how students can make something great and challenge themselves and be able to do something of value for the community,” Smith said. “It’s great to see young people doing something that showcases their talent and commitment to hard work.”

In the play, the audience will be immersed in the mystery of a theater critic’s death. An aspiring Irish playwright inspire Sherlock Holmes, played by senior Lucas Boling, to put his detective skills to the test and take the case.

Boling, 17, has taken part in a number of the high school’s productions in the past four years and also acts at the South Bend Civic Theatre. This play will mark his last at the high school. He said what he most loves about playing Holmes is the character’s know-it-all attitude, which he described as fun to portray.

“He knows he is the best at what he does and pretty much uses his deductive reasoning all the time. He is always analyzing,” Boling said. “He is kind of a jerk sometimes.”

Boling’s passion for theater, likely inspired by local opportunities, will continue as he heads to college to study acting.

Fellow actor Allie Robinson, a 17-year-old senior, earned the role as Holmes’ friend and assistant, Watson.

To prepare herself for the role, Robinson said she watched scenes from the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to get her accent right – this she said was one of the most challenging aspects of the playing the character.

Like Boling, Robinson is a well-versed actor who also plans to pursue a career in performing arts. 

For those who come to check out the production this weekend, Robinson said she hopes they get caught up in the mystery. 

“There’s definitely a lot of suspense throughout this and maybe they can kind of guess themselves: ‘oh, the killer is this person or no, it’s this person,’” Robinson said.

Smith recognized sponsors that came forward to help offset the cost of the fall production. He said the play involves more than 20 students who have spent weeks rehearsing.

“I think it shows them what there is in the world of theater, there’s more to high school than sports team, not that sports are bad, but they can experience other options,” Smith said. “For some students, just getting up on stage, even if they don’t have a large speaking role, was a way for them to get out of their comfort zone.”

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