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

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The Crown Diamond (Arthur Conan Doyle)
May 2 - ?: The Hippodrome, Bristol, England
May 16 - ?: Coliseum Theatre, London, England
June: The Hippodrome, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

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


One-act Play, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, produced at the Coliseum on Monday, May 16.

Sherlock Holmes.....Mr. Dennis Neilson-Terry
Dr. Watson.....Mr. R. V. Taylor
Billy.....Mr. Ronald Hammond
Col. Sebastian Moran.....Mr. Norman Leyland
Sam Merton.....Mr. Charles Farrell

The scene of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s new Sherlock Holmes’ playlet is laid in the Baker street rooms of the famous detective. Here we find his friend, Dr Watson, easily deceived by Holmes’ first appearance as an old woman, and we learn that he is on the track of "The Crown Diamond.”

Colonel Sebastian Moran, an intellectual criminal, and his faithful, but fatuous follower, Merton, a boxer, are implicated, and when the Colonel is announced, Sherlock hands Watson a note containing the Colonel’s address, also in case (Holmes) should be murdered. A tense interview between the Colonel and the detective follows, and the latter sends for Merton, leaving him and the Colonel together while plays his violin.

They talk in a somewhat indiscreet fashion, and when the Colonel shows Merton the diamond, up jumps a figure one thought was a dummy - but for which Sherlock Holmes has substituted himself - seizes the diamond, covers his men with a revolver, and, ringing for his page, calmly orders supper.

Mr Dennis Neilson-Terry, in wonderful make-up as Sherlock Holmes, contributed an arresting and finished study of the famous detective. Mr R. V. Taylour did Dr Watson; and Mr Ronald Hammond as Billy, the page, added a little comic relief the play. Mr Norman Leyland as the Colonel, and Mr Charles Farrell as the boxer, admirably enacted these villainous characters.

The play was well produced by Mr Stanley Bell.

The Era, Wednesday 18 May 1921
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



Many of his admirers would be delighted if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would drop Spiritualism and return to Sherlock Holmes. In “The Crown Diamond” at the Coliseum this week, the famous writer of detective stories has made his old hero for the first time the central figure of a one-act play.

The character as portrayed by Dennis Neilson-Terry, who thus makes his debut on the variety stage, is more youthful than one usually imagines Sherlock Holmes to be. This strikes a rather jarring note; for, although care has been taken to explain that “The Crown Diamond” is meant to present an early episode in the great detective’s adventurous career, one looks for brilliance coupled with repose – the budding evidence of a master-mind – in all his actions. This Mr Terry does not succeed in conveying. His methods are altogether too nervous and restless.

The playlet itself is, however, above the usual standard of music hall sketches. One gets a sense of genuine thrills from the arrival at Sherlock Holmes’s flat in Baker-street of the desperate criminals who have stolen the diamond, lured there by the detective’s clever device, till their final capitulation and the jewel’s recapture. It is very well written, and well worth seeing.

Lancashire Evening Post, Friday 20 May 1921
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk