FINISHING TOUCHES: Jason Steele (Sherlock Holmes) and Heather Lawrence (Jane Wilson) rehearse a scene from The Red Headed League, one of three one-acts about to be staged at The Nickle Studio this week. Albertus Koett photo

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series launches Feb. 22nd in the Nickle Studios

Three one-acts already sold out, full-length June production is in the works

The second installment of the hugely popular The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series launches Feb. 22nd in the Nickle Studios, with curtain at 7:30 p.m.

The series – based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted and directed by playwright Albertus Koett – first hit the stage last September with A Study in Scarlett.

This month, the sold-out production continue with three one-acts – The Red Headed League, The Boscombe Valley Mystery and A Scandal in Bohemia.

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

The next show in the series – a full-length production of The Sign of Four – is set to run in June.

“This month, these are three one-act plays, but they are all part of the over-arching Sherlock Holmes story,” explains Koett, adding that 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.

“My process has been, I take the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and I have a three-season arc for them. So I have a plan for where I want Sherlock Holmes and Watson to go from (this past) September’s show all the way to the June of 2020 show. I know where I want them to end up.

“So what I do, is I look through the short stories and I pick the ones that will help me to best tell my story. So I’m using the Doyle works as narrative tools.”

What’s also proven helpful is keeping the same folks onboard with the production, from the stage crew, sound and lighting design to the principle actors. “When we do bring a new person into the cast, they just fit right in because we’ve got something established from our September show. So there is this consistency.”

Meanwhile, each show will also feature The Baker Street Band with special guest artists, a bar with drinks and food inspired by the United Kingdom, improv, and a costume contest.

As to the initial inspiration for the project, Koett said that back in January of last year, he and his wife decided they would launch their own 30 books in 2017 challenge. They were heading out on a trip and Koett grabbed the first book he saw on the shelf – volume one of the Sherlock Holmes collection by Doyle.

He was pretty much immediately entranced by the classic tales, and he was struck by how these very stories could be well adapted to the stage. He decided to create sort of an episodic, theatrical series with it.

Although Doyle did come to tire of his ubiquitous sleuth after years of penning stories, there is no doubt he had a passion for crafting such tremendous stories.

Interestingly, when Doyle has 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.

“One of the goals of the show is that they can be a training ground for those new to theatre as well. In this show, we have one person who hasn’t been onstage in probably 30 years. So she has this opportunity in a safe environment to just jump in. So there will be roles for anybody that wants to get involved in theatre,” he said, adding that folks can also sign up to learn back-stage roles and stage management, for example.”

Looking ahead, Koett added 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.

Tickets will soon be available for the June production by visiting www.blackknightinn.ca.

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