AZTEC — Aztec High School PlayMakers will bring one of literature's most famous crime solvers to the stage starting this week.

"Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead Manor" opens Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Aztec High School Multi-purpose room, 500 E. Chaco Ave.

The play takes place in 1897 in Cheshire, England. Blackmead Manor is inhabited by several fiercely independent women. When two of them are found dead, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson go to investigate. The case turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Sidley Harrison, Aztec High School PlayMakers' teacher, said she enjoys murder mysteries like Sherlock Holmes. In the past the group has performed "Murder in Magnolias" and "Witness for the Prosection."

Jon Austria — The Daily Times  Sherlock Holmes, played by Charles Dobey acts out a scene with Hannah Elsbury during dress rehearsal, Thursday, at
Jon Austria — The Daily Times Sherlock Holmes, played by Charles Dobey acts out a scene with Hannah Elsbury during dress rehearsal, Thursday, at Aztec High School in Aztec.

For 13 of the 21 cast members, "Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead Manor" will be their first major play.

Kolbie Richardson, a freshman who plays Alice Milne, is one of those 13. Richardson is enjoying her first play and the role of Milne.

"She's the oldest and most calm and collected resident of the house," Richardson said.

Charles Dobey, a senior at Aztec High School, stars as Sherlock in the play.

"He has a really deep past that people don't know about," Dobey said about his character.

He added that Sherlock is knowledgable and likes to brag.

In addition to playing Sherlock, Dobey is the student director.

The play was chosen, in part, to showcase Dobey's talent.

Dobey will major in theater at Pepperdine University in the fall.

He is joined on stage by junior Trent Hutchens who plays Dr. John Watson.

"Watson's just a person who cares about everybody," Hutchens said.

Kassie Kelso, a sophomore, plays Ernestine Billit, the housekeeper. Billit is one of Holmes' suspects.

"She's very stubborn and rude," Kelso said.

Hutchens' younger sister, Samantha Hutchens, a freshman, painted the walls on the set.

Jon Austria — The Daily Times  Members of the Aztec Play Makers rehearse, Thursday, at Aztec High School in Aztec.
Jon Austria — The Daily Times Members of the Aztec Play Makers rehearse, Thursday, at Aztec High School in Aztec.

"I don't think I've ever been in an art class," Samantha Hutchens said.

She chose the color green for the set to make it seem more mysterious and she spent a lot of time researching interior decoration of the time period.

"During that age everything was wallpaper," she said.

Sidley Harrison, the teacher, said she wanted to choose a show to spotlight Dobey for his final performance.

"I knew it had to be something incredibly cool," she said.

Last year, when she ordered scripts, the "Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead Manor" script came as a free bonus.

She handed it to Trent Hutchens and Dobey and had them read it. She immediately knew she had found her Sherlock and Watson.

"He and Trent are like Sherlock and Watson even off stage," she said.

IF YOU GO

What: Sherlock Holmes and the Spinsters of Blackmead Manor

When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and May 1, 2, and 3

Where: Aztec High School's Multi-purpose Room, 500 East Chaco

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.