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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Miss Holmes is a Great Holmes!

The image on the wall welcomed us to "Miss Holmes"
Christopher M. Walsh’s play “Miss Holmes” features:
  • A female Sherlock Holmes
  • An ironically named “knitting circle” of women who can go everywhere and see everything, much like the Baker Street Irregular
  • A Mycroft who keeps sending his sister to Bedlam
  • A Dr. Dorothy Watson
  • A young Stamford who would like to marry Dr. Watson
  • The traditional Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, and a hint of Moriarty

None of this adds up to a great play. But it is a great play, a sweet treat for Sherlockians that anyone can enjoy. Ann and I were part of a Bagel Street dozen of Tankerville Club members who saw the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production on Saturday.

This is not a one-trick pony that relies on the gender-bending to carry the play. It has some great humor, suspense, wry allusions to the Canon, great characters, and a stunning, unexpected (at least by me) twist at the end. The backstories of our heroes are much different, and they work.  

Like many of the Canonical Holmes stories, this one begins with a female client – a woman who has been warned that her husband, a Scotland Yard inspector, is out to kill her. But in this alternative universe Holmes and Watson, who have just met, are also female. The place of women in Victorian society is a plot engine, but not heavy-handed.

The few modern clichés in the dialogue (notably “no worries” and “nothing to see here”) are not enough to detract from enjoyment of the play.

The ending of “Miss Holmes” points to a sequel, and the author’s website lists “Miss Holmes Returns” as a work in progress. I look forward to seeing it.


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  2. Your comments are Right On! We saw the play this evening (August 4) and enjoyed it immensely! We also fell victim to the unexpected twist at the end, and it was quite refreshing to see a play with a completely new plot rather than a reworked or recombined series of incidents taken from The Canon. Bravo, and we look forward to the sequel!

  3. Our reactions are in synch, as is so often the case! Good point about the originality of the plot.