Clever scripts fuel installment in Sherlock Holmes series

Shows run through to Feb. 24th at the Nickle Studio

It’s easy to see why the famed Sherlock Holmes stories have truly stood the test of time. They are intriguing – but it’s more than that.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly had a way with crafting compelling tales – and the man in the middle of it all – Sherlock Holmes himself – was of course leagues ahead of those around him with his razor sharp ability to untangle the most bewildering of cases.

Locally, playwright Albertus Koett has done a tremendous job of adapting several of Doyle’s legendary stories into hugely successful productions, starting with A Study in Scarlet last fall, and currently via a trio of sold-out one-acts – The Red Headed League, The Boscombe Valley Mystery and A Scandal in Bohemia.

This second installment of the The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series runs through to Feb. 24th at the Nickle Studio.

Having not only adapted the stories for the stage, Koett has also masterfully directed all three – and he’s also featuring an array of very talented actors in each of the one-acts as well.

In the lead role is local actor Jason Steele as Sherlock. Paul Sutherland stars as Dr. Watson and Lorraine Stuart plays the part of Mrs. Hudson. Trysten Luck plays Inspector Lestrade.

The four of them are perfect for their respective roles – it’s indeed difficult to imagine better casting for the parts of Holmes and Watson. Sutherland is particularly outstanding as Watson – the constant observer and faithful companion to Holmes who also serves as narrator – fleshing out the background and adding details to the goings-on as the plots unfold.

Heather Lawrence and Ryan Mattila were also particularly strong in The Red Headed League, as were CAT veteran Cynthia Edwards and Ryan Garbutt in The Boscombe Valley Mystery.

Kudos to Koett most of all, however, for taking these enduring stories and adapting them into really enjoyable, accessible stage productions.

Koett has also brought out the very best in his cast – they really work well together and there is no doubt they are enjoying the process as much as the audience enjoys following the adventures of the world’s favourite sleuth.

Interestingly, when Doyle had Sherlock Holmes killed off in one of the stories, people in and around London in particular were both devastated and outraged. Some even wore black arm bands as a symbol of grief in losing such a beloved character. To their relief, Holmes re-appeared about six years later in further tales.

Meanwhile, although Doyle wrote them as stand-alone stories, Koett has adapted them to connect to his own ongoing story of Sherlock, which will ultimately wrap up in June of 2020.

Koett has also said that when the Sherlock Holmes series wraps in 2020, the plan is to keep the September, February and June time slots open for other episodic interpretations of various works, too.

The next show in the series – a full-length production of The Sign of Four – is set to run in June. Tickets will be on sale soon by vising www.blackknightinn.ca.

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