The Real Sherlock Holmes by Peter Colley
The year is 1876. Arthur Conan Doyle is a medical student at the University of Edinburgh; his professor, Dr. Joseph Bell, is the man Doyle always claimed as the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. The two men could not be more different - Dr. Bell instilled in the young Doyle the need for keen observation in medical mysteries, while Doyle was a lifelong believer in using mysticism and the occult to uncover hidden secrets - something his most famous creation would have despised. The Real Sherlock Holmes examines the origins of the Sherlock character using the actual historical personalities of the two men, framed by a Sherlockian-style adventure as they compete to solve a mysterious death. It's logic versus magic, who will win?
Keywords: Sherlock Holmes, mystery, comedy, thriller, Scotland, Arthur Conan Doyle, mysticism, detective, clues, murder, Edinburgh, medical
First produced by The Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Port Dover ON, 2022
Also produced by The Showboat Theatre, Port Colborne ON, 2022 and Hammond Theatre, Indiana USA, 2023.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Run time: 2 hours with intermission
Suitable for students 16+
Content notes: As a murder mystery there are references to murder, though none are shown onstage. There are guns and knives shown, and also gunshots, and brief appearances of unsavory characters of the night in seedy bars. There are a few sexual references which can be omitted if necessary.
Cast size: 7 actors
Male roles: 4
Female roles: 3
Casting notes: Many roles can be doubled. The original professional production used 7 actors with doubling, although it can be as low as 6 with fast changes. Amateur productions have used a cast of 12 or more.
"Canadian playwright Peter Colley knows how to blend comedy and menace with near surgical precision...If you like to laugh, The Real Sherlock Holmes will give you exactly what you want, enough belly laughs to keep you entertained from beginning to end, and enough technical wizardry on display to leave you dazzled."
- Mike Renzella, The Haldimand Press