Aquila Theatre brings twist to famous tale

Three mysteries were solved in rapid secession as Sherlock Holmes worked with his loyal colleague Dr. Watson during the production of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” New York’s Aquila Theatre put on the production in the Columbia Theatre on Friday, Feb. 20. 

“I thought it was a great interpretation,” said Columbia Theatre Director Roy Blackwood. “I loved the comedy. They did such funny little quirky things that were really amusing and very inventive.”

The production, which was adapted by Desiree Sanchez from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series, created a comedic and suspenseful atmosphere. The audience laughed aloud throughout the play, but also were silently on the edge of their seats.

“I was really quite interested to see that the audience was so into it that they didn’t applaud,” said Blackwood. “You know, between scenes or anything like that. Because they were like, ‘what’s going to happen, what’s going to happen?’ You have to suspend disbelief and the audience went with them and did that and that’s what made it so successful.”

The play had three acts, with each telling its own mystery for Sherlock to solve. While the play could be labeled as a mystery, it was also comedic as Blackwood points out. The actors used the stage to their benefit as they created humor through suspenseful moments. 

“I love the comedy twist of it because Sherlock can be kind of serious and dry, but that was not this at all,” said Blackwood. “The stagecraft was very innovative. I loved the ways they used the doors. It was a stage prop, but it was also used as a comedy element.”

Aquila’s production was also unique in that Sherlock, played by Jackie Schram, was portrayed as a woman. 

“It was absolutely non-obtrusive,” said Blackwood. “I thought she added a wonderful charming flavor, and I was not put out by it at all. I thought it was delightful. If you think about it, a strong woman plays that role every bit as well as a man so I liked that part of it very much.”

According to audience members, Sherlock as a woman did not change the feeling of the play much itself. 

“I thought it was an interesting counterpoint to the ‘Elementary’ series on TV where Dr. Watson is a woman,” said Tangipahoa resident Charles Robinson. “I thought it was interesting, actually. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it at all. They could have played it up a little more.”

The plot cast out in the play was similar to the books, however according to Robinson the experience was different. 

“A few years ago, I went back and read some of the old Sherlock Holmes stuff, and it was interesting to revisit it,” said Robinson. “I don’t think the theatre experience is really like the books at all. The stories might be the same. I think it’s a different kind of experience. There tends to be a more media scene, but the thing that is better about books is you have time to think about what is going on. You go at your own pace when you’re reading, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.”

Despite this, the performance received a standing ovation after its final bow. 

Showing the versatile nature of the Aquila Theatre, they left the next day to switch roles into “Romeo and Juliet” for a production in Baton Rouge.

“It’s a company that we worked with before so we expect a high level of performance from them,” said Blackwood. “They are so versatile. Very, very highly skilled. I thought it was highly successful and I was thoroughly pleased with it.”

According to Blackwood, the Aquila Theatre is already booked to return to the Columbia Theatre next year for “Murder on the Nile.”

To find out more about the Aquila Theatre and Columbia Theatre, visit and