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

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The Sign of the Four (Charles P. Rice)
(Ulrich Stock Company)
April 2 - ?: Grand Opera House, Los Angeles

Sherlock Holmes (William Gillette)
October 26 – 28: The Hardwick Theater, Phoenix, Arizona
November 10 – 11: Orpheum Theater, Honolulu

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

Performances Yesterday Were Most Enjoyable Seen at the Grand Opera House This Season

Yesterday afternoon the Ulrich stock company — "new in everything but the name" — opened for the spring and summer season at the Grand opera house in "The Sign of the Four," supposed to be a dramatization of the Conan Doyle story of that name by Charles P. Rice.

Press Agent Bartlett was careful to impress on the critics the fact that Richard Buhler, the leading man, only reached Los Angeles at 6 last evening, that the company had been rehearsing all night, that this was the first time they had ever been on the stage together, and many other reasons for excusing any imperfections. His excuses were not needed, for before the play had fairly begun the audience was expressing in its liberal manner enthusiastic appreciation of one of the most enjoyable entertainments given at the Grand this season.

All things considered, the new Ulrich stock company will probably attain a degree of popularity more than equal to the aggregation of last season. No new company was ever given a more hearty welcome. The applause was so "loud and prolonged" that it staggered the performers and confused them to such an extent that it took them nearly a whole scene to realize that frantic efforts were being made to pass flowers across the footlights to them.

It is difficult to determine after an opening performance how well a company is going to "wear" with its public, but it is evident that the management has brought together several excellent actors who should interpret melodrama with the best of them. Richard Buhler appears to be about what the young women generally demand for a matinee idol and, if the women are satisfied, he is "worth his weight in gold." That is not intended as detrimental to him. He is a good actor, much above the average in the line of work he has taken up here. He was handicapped in yesterday's play by the general idea of Sherlock Holmes as a slender man, but that is only one of the trials of a stock company actor.

Ethel Clifton, the leading woman, also made a favorable impression. She reads with good expression and displays considerable talent. Lule Warrenton and Brenda Fowler, who are known here, were given the most rousing reception of any in the cast. Both did creditable work.

The others of the company were acceptable. Unusual care has been given to the mounting of this play, and Charles Wallace, who the program says is responsible for the scenery, deserves praise.

While the play, rather than making Sherlock Holmes shrewd, makes his contemporaries frightfully obtuse, it has plenty of high class thrills and comedy broad as a barn door, although not deep as a well.

Los Angeles Herald, Monday 3 April 1905



Richard Buhler, at the Orpheum last night, justified all the good things that have been said about him and promised for him. He has a supporting company of which much can be said in praise. There is every reason to believe that the Orpheum will give us by far the best season of wholesome and attractive plays in its history, and the Orpheum has been a veritable oasis in a dramatic desert for a number of years.

"Sherlock Holmes In the Sign of the Four,' [sic. Performance was actually of the Gillette play] was not an altogether happy selection for an opening play. There are several others In the National Stock Company's repertoire which would have been better. The story upon which It Is founded has no melodramatic element in it at all.

It is a story that derives its interest solely from the succession of surprising incidents which are skillfully invented and kept just within the bound of probability as to each separate one, but just beyond the bound of probability as to the chain and succession of them. In the play these incidents have been made the vehicle of action of melodrama, and not altogether with success. There isn't enough of the melodramatic element In the play.

Nevertheless, In spite of these drawbacks in the play, an evening of pleasant dramatic interest was given a large audience.

Richard Buhler is a man of handsome presence and dramatic skill. He is without doubt one of the best actors who have come to us as the head of a company playing repertoire. He has a deep rich voice which he knows how to use, and a well controlled manner which shows thorough training and good mastery. In some of the romantic plays which the company will give during this season, such as the "Three Musketeers," he ought to be superb.

Ernest Wilkes as "Dr. Watson" was thorough going and sincere. William Gleason as "John Forman" played a really strong part. Thomas Lowell as "James Larrabee" carried the ungrateful part of the villain very satisfactorily. H. Herman Earl as the arch-villain made a strong character of "Professor Moriarity."

Lillian Hayward as "Madge Larrabee" the adventuress played the part with much strength, and Juliette Chandler, both in her character as the French maid "Therese" and in her dancing turn between the acts, most certainly captivated a very large part of the audience.

The remainder of the cast was as follows:
"Sidney Prince," H. L. Auerbach; "Alfred Bassick," Rupert Drum; "Jim Cragan," Charles Roberts; "Thomas Leary,' R. A. Newell: "Lightfoot McTague," Otto Clemens; "John," Harry Norman; "Parsons," Sam Eyton; "Billy," Mr Renford; "Alice Faulkner," Brenda Fowler, "Madge Larrabee," Lillian Hayward; "Therese," Juliette Chandler; "Mrs Smedley," Louise Orendorf.

A capable orchestra under the direction of Joe Rosen added much to the pleasure of the evening. Manager Cohen of the Orpheum deserves much credit for bringing the present company here.

"Sherlock Holmes" will be repeated tonight. On Monday and Tuesday will be given "All The Comforts of Home." There will be no matinee today.

Hawaiian Star, Saturday 11 November 1905



"Sherlock Holmes" at the Orpheum theater last evening brought out a big crowd, a crowd long hungry for the footlights. It was a most representative gathering and every seat was occupied.

Richard Buhler makes a splendid Sherlock and holds the uninterrupted attention of the audience by every move.

He is much the best actor who has yet appeared at the Orpheum and his portrayal of other characters will be awaited with great interest.

He is a handsome, manly looking fellow and should be magnificent in romantic roles.

Lilian Hayward, the adventuress, is a clever artist, revealing great talent, effective in every situation. Brenda Fowler is strong throughout, as the wronged woman of the play, and is particularly fascinating in the last scene.

William Gleason had a small part but he made it stand out strongly, showing himself a through actor. He will be seen to good advantage In "All the Comforts of Home" in which he is cast for one of the principal parts.

Mr Lowell as the villain has a nice stage presence, is a good actor and makes a fine foil for Buhler.

Mr Earl was very finished as Moriarity, while Mr. Wilkes took the character of Dr Watson in a very creditable manner. Miss Chandler, the clever little singing and dancing soubrette, caught on immediately and will be a favorite.

The whole company is strong; there are no weak parts and the play itself is one that holds the intense interests of the spectator. Those who did not enjoy "Sherlock Holmes" last night will have the opportunity to do so tonight, as the play will then be repeated.

Honolulu Evening Bulletin, Saturday 11 November 1905