Thursday, October 01, 2015

'Sherlock Holmes' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Gillette

1 October 2015

In 1899 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collaborated with William Gillette on a stage play featuring his famous detective. 'Sherlock Holmes' is a four-act play that presents an original Holmes story but uses elements from a number of Conan Doyle's books. Gillette's play introduced the famous curved pipe and the phrase  "Oh, this is elementary, my dear Watson" (which never appeared in Conan Doyle's stories). The play departs from the convention of having Dr Watson recounting the tale, opening with a scene showing the villains rather than starting with Holmes in his consulting room. The result is more of a thriller than a detective story, as there is no puzzle for the audience to try to unravel before Holmes does. It's not a great play but it was interesting and very enjoyable to see our local amateur theatre company, TADS, perform it in Toddington on Saturday. Debut director Chloe White had put together a fine production. Her use of music and changes of lighting to underpin the dramatic end of some scenes gave the play the feel of a television drama. And she had found an excellent lead actor in Anthony Bird who was a very young but extremely cool and confident Holmes.

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