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

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Under the Clock (Charles Brookfield & Seymour Hicks)
November 25 - ?: Court Theatre, London, England

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


A very funny and audacious burlesque was produced at the Court Theatre on Saturday night. “Under the Clock,” by Mr Brookfield and Mr Hicks, takes off everybody and everything. I wonder what Zola will say when he hears of the liberties the writers take with his sacred person.

He is introduced under another name, as M. Emile Nana, and in the course of his wanderings in London, meets the second Mrs Tanqueray, who recognises him as one of her lovers before she married Aubrey. The novelist is inexpressibly shocked. He warns her that she is misjudging him, and that, whatever she may have gathered from his novels, there is no one in his domestic life more virtuous than himself.

The scene, especially as played by Miss Lottie Venne, was a daring burlesque on the well-remembered crucial rencontre in Mr Pinero’s fine play, and nobody enjoyed it more than Mr Pinero himself as he sat and shook with laughter in a private box.

Sherlock Holmes is another contemporary hero who makes the travestie amusing. Somebody asks him what he does when his swans turn out geese, and he replies – “Why, nothing easier – blame the police.”

Derby Daily Telegraph, Monday 27 November 1893
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



On Saturday night a new triple bill was submitted at the Court Theatre, London, and may be said to have met with great approval. It included a little drama of domestic interest, a brief romantic opera, and a parody. The first two pieces – “Good-by” and “A Venetian Singer” – are rather slight, but “Under the Clock,” as Messrs Brookfield and Seymour Hicks have named their skit upon the recent doings of the Haymarket, Garrick, and St James’s Theatres, was very well received.

It begins with a parody of the detective system of Mr Sherlock Holmes as applied where there is nothing to detect but much to extort the fatuous admiration of Sherlock’s friend, Dr Watson. These two cronies, suspecting their distinguished foreign guest, M. Emile Nana, of dynamite intentions, have him followed on his journey to the Mansion House by the detective maid-of-all-work, Hannah.

Arrived at his destination, M. Nana is introduced to several remarkable people, including The Second Mrs Tanqueray, who sings of her dissipated past in a rollicking ditty; the Yankee Foresters who carol forth “There’s no land like England,” with a very American intonation; the animated statue of Niobe, with a dance; and The Tempter, who, from his elevated position near the roof, objurgates the Mansion House station in some lines exactly after the manner of Mr Jones’s violent Elizabethan abuse of poor unoffending Canterbury.

Mrs Bancroft is heard giving her monologue concerning the clock at Berne (in “Diplomacy”) amidst interruptions from Mr Penley, as Charley’s Aunt, Mr Wyndham as David Garrick, and Mr Bancroft as himself, solemnly suggesting that his wife’s speech is delaying the action of the piece.

This last, which is Mr Brookfield’s, together with a brief initiation of one of Mr Wilson Barrett’s rhapsodies, constituted the best bits of mimicry in the performance, though a neat point was also scored in Mr Hicks’s passing suggestion of Mr Irving, who is made to give Mephistophelean encouragement to Mr Tree’s Devil upon having climbed “about as high as he can get.”

Dublin Daily Express, Tuesday 28 November 1893
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk