Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Sherlock/Suicide Mash-Up on Stage

A Playhouse in the Park pillar
The urge to mix Sherlock Holmes with other fictional characters seems irresistible. How many Holmes/Dracula mash-ups have there been, for example? I don't have enough fingers and toes.

One of the more unusual pairings that I've encountered is the play Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club. What's unusual about it, at least to me, is that "The Suicide Club" is  one of Robert Louis Steven's lesser known works, and the main character isn't in the play.

We saw the play, written by Jeffrey Hatcher, over the weekend at Playhouse in the Park in Cincinnati. The acting and staging were of the highest professional quality.  Douglas Rees as Holmes recalled William Gillette, espeically in profile.

I found the explanation of the villain's plan at the end a bit hard to follow, but that didn't keep the script from being fun. Unlike most Holmes plays, Suicide Club doesn't borrow plot devices from the Gillette classic, doesn't feature Professor Moriarty and Irene Adler (or a similar feminine lead), and doesn't throw in every famous line of dialogue from the Canon just to make you feel at home.

All of that is to the good. The script is quite fresh from a Holmes standpoint, although it does borrow elements of the three Stevenson short stories that together made up "The Suicide Club."

On the down side, some of the black humor makes it hard to take the story seriously. And - worst of all for dedicated Sherlockians - this story just couldn't have happened. It takes place in 1914 and Holmes is living in Baker Street. By that time he had long retired to the Sussex Downs and, as we know from "His Last Bow," spent the two years before August 1914 away from England as a spy.

Still, it's a highly enjoyable bit of theater if you can just relax and go with the flow. 

No comments:

Post a Comment