“The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation. Then, with a gesture of desperation, he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground.”~ Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, hereditary King of Bohemia, being overdramatic in the presence of Mr Holmes and a possibly hungry Dr Watson (SCAN). Illustration by Sidney Paget, who must have been a fly sitting on the wall at 221B, exercising his great sketch artist skills (1891).
To bring in the holiday season, The Baskerville Pups are proud to return to all things Sherlockian (and Doylian, if we must go that far). We previously got along with a biography on Jeremy Brett, collectible 221B models, and an awful lot of surveys and opinions on the Canon. The Goodreads and Twitter platforms are incomplete rotters when it comes to our little discussion feeds, so onto something new, we say.
The Sherlock Holmes collection goes far beyond the sixty stories that AC Doyle proudly presented as “Canon.” As a matter of fact, Doyle wrote uncanonical pieces and even lived to approve adaptations by other creators who were fond of the detective and doctor duo. Fancy learning about the uncollected collection of uncollected Sherlockian work? The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, compiled by Richard Lancelyn Green for Penguin Books makes a perfect collection of these pieces. In case the name sounds familiar or is just of any interest, Richard Lancelyn Green was the excellent Sherlockian scholar who had a murder mystery case of his own back in March of 2004.
In Green’s introduction, he made sure to mention several topics that covered the exploits of Doyle, from his inspirations to his doings in the disappearance of Agatha Christie. One section in particular details how the Sherlock Holmes stories evolved with the entertainment industry of the 1890s. No longer did the sleuth have to stay on paper. Moving pictures were at their earlies. So, in-between the range of books and film, we have theatre productions.
Doyle’s feelings towards having Holmes on stage changed throughout it’s developments, eventually becoming favourable of the theatrical projects, thanks to William Gillette’s talents and efforts. At first, Doyle had exceptions with what was done with Holmes, such as including romance, but eventually he decided, as he told William Gillette, that he “might marry the detective, or murder him, or do anything he pleased with him, preferring to leave a stage detective in the hands of a master actor. (The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes, p 81)”
And from that William Gillette phase forth, we have been doing our best to dramatize Sherlockiana on stage.
It is easy (well, not relatively easy unless you have unlimited access to these sorts of stuff) to turn on the television to argue over which film or television adaptation is best, or canon, or innovative in creativity. However, there is so much more that you can do instead of sitting in-front of the telly. Every year, every season, there are theatre troupes, or more specifically, companies, that publicly perform— live! Take our friends, Cellar Theatre (UK), for example— they work towards bringing the Victorian and Edwardian era back to life… on stage, that is.
Another great place to look for theatre shows is at the great Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where you can find basically any genre or production at their venues. You definitely won’t be short on Sherlock Holmes and Doyle at the Fringe. After all, Doyle did study in Edinburgh, and, he was Scottish. So where’s a better place to celebrate his work than there?
To introduce some Sherlockian productions this month, we will have our friend and blogger Jim Clelland (@UrbanSpaceMan64 on Twitter), share his experiences attending shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Every week, Jim will post a review on four plays. You can look forward to reading about these plays every Sunday:
- Watson: The Final Problem by Bert Coules
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Owen Thomas
- The Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes by Dylan Townley, Tom Wilkinson, and Sam Plumb
- Sherlock Holmes and the Conundrum of Conan Doyle by Annie James, directed by Annie Begg
We also have plans to write about the interesting Adventure of Thor Bridge, which will bring us back to Richard Lancelyn Green, and The Shadows of Sherlock Holmes edited by David Stuart Davies.
Let the games be afoot!
Look out for Sherlockian play reviews on http://www.baskervillepups.com, written by @UrbanSpaceman64 and @TriflesAndEggs!Tweet
For more Sherlockian theatre reviews and other literature fancies, subscribe to The Baskerville Pups. Articles shall be published every week for the holiday season. Cheerio!