I hate horror, but I love Westmont Theatre. Thus, you can imagine my quandary at the announcement of Fright Nights, their 4D movie experience filled with alarming jump scares, hair-raising music, and terrifying live actors. The mere thought of the event sent chills down my spine.
Nonetheless, I am a journalist, and I had a job to do. With comrades Olivia D’Antona and Jimmy Nguyen by my side, I courageously drove to Westmont at 8:30 p.m. on October 26 to brave the night of terror. Upon purchasing our tickets, the three of us were greeted with a lobby full of countless zombies surrounding us on every side. Little did we know, that was only the beginning.
Sherlock Holmes can read people like a book. “An elementary textbook,” he so graciously specifies.
From November 9 to November 18, Westmont Theatre put on their annual fall play. This year, Sherlock Holmes paid a visit to the department—and boy, is Holmes a character. Taking place in nineteenth-century London, the story follows a blackmail plot by criminals Jamie and Madge Larrabee, who hold a young woman captive in hopes of extorting a royal family. The girl, Alice Faulkner, is in possession of a stack of letters which would allow the despicable Larrabees to succeed in their efforts. When the clever Holmes is put on the case, chaos ensues, as he fights for Faulkner’s justice while battling his archnemesis, Professor James Moriarty.
Entering the theater, one could immediately tell the amount of dedication that behind-the-scenes students put in. With five scenes total, each in a different location, the show requires a vast range of pieces, props, and lighting to immerse the audience in the various settings. My personal favorite, Moriarty’s Underground Office, contained so many eerie details, such as grate-like projections on the ground, and a trapdoor in the floor from which characters entered. Overall, the set of Sherlock was insanely impressive.
Furthermore, provided that many characters were double-casted, I had the pleasure of watching two different nights of Sherlock—I had hoped to see every student perform. From my time as an audience member, I learned the simple reason why phenomenal Director, Jeff Bengford, chose to double-cast: Westmont Theatre has an abundance of incredibly talented actors.
Jimmy Nguyen and Sergio Macian shared the role of Sherlock. Both Nguyen and Macian did an outstanding job at bringing the complicated character to life. Throughout the show, Holmes demonstrates a cool, confident persona. Yet, upon the reveal of his love interest at the conclusion, we suddenly see Holmes’s vulnerability. Watching Nguyen in the final scene, one could see the moment where his Sherlockian self-confidence suddenly fades. To mention every moment of Nguyen’s immense talent proves unachievable.
Moving forward, Kenzy McDowell played Jamie Larrabee. From the moment McDowell walked onstage, you could feel her energy. Each line delivered and movement across the stage she did with purpose. Thus, McDowell was a joy to watch onstage.
On my second night watching, I sat with several good friends, including the wonderful Marina Halbert. Together, we laughed at the hilarious Otra Phillips, who played one of Moriarty’s henchmen.