A collection of historic reviews and articles on Sherlockian theatrical performances from contemporary newspapers.

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The Speckled Band (Arthur Conan Doyle)
July 13 - 18: Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Agust 17 - 22: Theatre Royal, Exeter, Devon, England

(Information above on performance dates is derived from newspaper archives and is therefore likely to be incomplete.)

“The Speckled Band” at the Royal

Admirers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character Sherlock Holmes have the opportunity of seeing him at work this week at the Portsmouth Theatre Royal. “The Speckled Band” is an intensely dramatic play, and last night’s presentation was of the first rank.

Nothing finer has been seen for some time than Mr C.W. Somerset’s interpretation of the mad Anglo-Indian surgeon, Grimesby Rylott, who through the medium of a snake (the Speckled Band) kills his step-daughter, and but for the intervention of the great detective would add her sister’s death to his record of crime.

Every phase of the entrancing tragedy is wonderfully portrayed, and the interest and excitement is at fever heat, which reaches its climax in the final act, when the mysterious and awe-inspiring crime is enacted with a realism which was breath-catching.

Mr Somerset’s part was a splendid life-like study, which held the audience spellbound throughout. No less than that, either, can be said of Mr Sydney Bland as Sherlock Holmes. As Enid Stonor (Rylott’s step-daughter), Miss Violet Rangdale excelled, and the Mrs Staunton (the housekeeper) of Miss Maria Ramur was another very fine character.

All the members of the strong company were of the first water, and the interest of the play was enhanced by the introduction of quite a novel feature at the outset. When the audience entered the theatre, the curtain was already “up,” and without any overture from the orchestra, but to the accompaniment of an Indian dirge, played by unseen musicians, the performance began.
Between the acts Mr Charles H. Peters (musical director) was encored for a finely rendered violin solo.

Portsmouth Evening News, Tuesday 14 July 1914
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk