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

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Sherlock Holmes (William Gillette)
May 12 - 17: Alexandra Theatre, Stoke Newington, England
May 26 - 31: Grand Theatre, Croydon, England
June w/o 28: New Theatre, Ealing, England
October 20 - 25: Theatre Royal, Sheffield, England
March 30 - ?: Empire Theatre, Oldham, England
April 27 - May 2: Prince's Theatre, Bristol, England
November 9 - 14: The Theatre & Opera House, Cheltenham, England
February 22-?: Theatre Royal, Belfast, Ireland
March 21 - 26: Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool, England
April 25 - May 7: Her Majesty's Theatre, Walsall, England

The Speckled Band (Arthur Conan Doyle)
August 22 - 27: Prince's Theatre, Bristol, England
September 26 - October 1: Grand Opera House, Belfast, Ireland
October 3 - 8: Theatre Royal, Dublin, Ireland
November 7 - 12: King's Theatre, Sunderland, England

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


The London Lyceum version of “Sherlock Holmes” had a very favourable reception when it was in Sheffield a few months ago, and a second visit of this remarkable play should be very welcome.The piece this time is to be staged at the Theatre Royal.

Mr Wm Gillette has given the dramatic world a very realistic representation of the cleverest crime investigator that fiction has yet afforded to us. The plot is a sensational and exceptionally interesting one, the methods of the great detective being very skilfully portrayed.

Mr Charles Frohman’s company, which is to present the play, is a carefully selected one. Mr Julian Royce, who is now playing Mr Gillette’s part in the piece, is a well-known actor. He has recently returned from America, where he toured five months with Mrs Langtry, in “The Degenerates.” He will be remembered, too, in connection with his performance in “The Great Millionaire,” at Drury Lane, last autumn.

Miss Christine McGill, who plays the part of “Alice Faulkner,” is an artiste possessed of marked personality, and in this, her latest role, she is said to do some clever work.  The cast also includes Mr Dalziel Heron, Mr W. Lawson Butt, and Miss Ivy Herzog.

The company carries the full and complete production, exactly as was seen at the Lyceum Theatre in London. A matinee is announced for Saturday afternoon.

Sheffield Independent, Saturday 18 October 1902
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



The highly-Successful visit paid to Belfast by Mr. Charles Frohman'a company just two years ago is still fresh in the minds of local playgoers, and the many thrilling situatious, plots and counter-plots, through which Sherlock Holmes’s coolness and cleverness, which have made Conan Doyle’s famous detective so dear to the public that the author has been obliged to resurrect him, caused such unqualified delight that it is certain that its return visit next week to the Theatre Royal will meet with hearty appreciation.

While following on the lines of melodrama the authors, William Gillette and Conan Doyle, have treated their scheme with such skill that the performance, though highly sensational, has a certain air of distinction, and troubles not with the commonplace methods of the ordinary stage villain. It is pleasant to find that the role of the great detective will once more be in the safe keeping of Mr. Julian Royce, who created such a favourable impression when the play was last presented here by Charles Frohman. Mr. Royce’s appearance and personality realise nicely the conception intended by Sir A. Conan Doyle, and it might readily be imagined that be hadstepped straight out of the pages of the Strand Magazine.

The excellent company engaged to support Mr. Royce include such well-known names as Chris Walker, Dalziel Heron, and Quinton Macpherson, and among the ladies will be found Mannie Bennet as Alice Faulkner, and Ivy Hertzog in her old part of Madge Larrabee.

In connection with this visit of Sherlock Holmes to the Theatre Royal, Mr. Charles Frohman and Mr. Fred W. Warden have made arrangements to present every lady patron paying for admission by the early doors on each evening with a handsome souvenir of the famous detective, eniitled “Sherlock Holmes Sees Faces in the Smoke,” a most charming piece of work, reflecting great credit on Messrs. David Allen & Sons, of this city, while every gentleman availing himself of the early doors will receive a unique pipe, fashioned after the well-known features of Holmes, the appropriateness of which will be at once recognised when it is realised what an habitual pipe smoker this popular personage is represented to be.

There will be an afternoon performance on Friday, commencing at 2 p.m.

Northern Whig, Friday 19 February 1904
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk


Mr Sherlock Holmes…..Mr Julian Royce
Dr Grimesby Rylott…..Mr C.W. Somerset

Mr Sherlock Holmes was walking in the street when I first saw him. Tall, spare of figure, clean shaven, pale and thin featured, he could not be mistaken. He was dressed in a lounge suit, with wide, square-cut lapels to the coat, carried a cane, and was smoking a cigarette.

“Here’s our man,” whispered my companion. We had waited in the hope of seeing him. In another moment I had been introduced, and the three of us strolled with one accord to where we might sit undisturbed. Holmes was evidently well pleased with himself, for every now and again a smile hovered round his thin lips, and was gone. He is elated, I thought, at his success in the “Speckled Band” case. And so it was, for abruptly he said:

“Went very well last night, I thought.”

“Splendidly,” we agreed simultaneously.

The waiter brought cups of coffee, and Holmes sipped his and pronounced it capital. Smoke in spiral wisps escaped from his lips as he talked, but he did not collect the ash. Probably it is only other people’s that he is interested in. He was full of his experiences in America, whence he only recently returned after a tour lasting eleven months. It was on his landing in London that he met Dr Watson, who placed in his hands the case of the “Speckled Band.”

Suddenly the door of our room was burst open, and it flew back with a slam behind the figure of – whom do you think? Dr Grimesby Rylott. But how different to the volcanic Anglo-Indian Doctor was this cheery, hale, and hearty gentleman, whose hair was iron grey, and from beneath whose heavy brows were eyes that twinkled with merriment. And strange to say, the first man to whom the Doctor advanced with outstretched hand, and felicitous inquiry, was Holmes himself!

“How are you my boy!” he laughed, rather than said, and Sherlock, in the joy of meeting his best enemy, nearly upset his coffee.

And then a strange thing happened. Another coffee was ordered, for which Holmes paid, and the situation to my poor untutored mind seemed ludicrous. But there it was, and when the beverage was brought, Dr Rylott wished his undoer of the night before everything that he could wish himself. I believe Holmes was a trifle non-plussed by the turn which events had taken, for though I watched him very closely, I saw him inject no cocaine, and I can vouch that none was put in his coffee. I think he must have forgotten!

And to still further reverse the true order of things as they appealed to me, Dr Rylott turned raconteur! It seems that he has had some very quaint experiences in the course of his professional career, and he kept our little company laughing uninterruptedly, as he reeled off yarn after yarn. His recollections of early struggles would fill a volume, and his personal reminiscences of people whose names are known to all of us, and with whom he had dealings – pleasant, be it said – before he became the centre piece in the “Speckled Band” case, are innumerable.

Holmes seldom laughs with the apparent heartiness of many men, but even his countenance relaxed more than ever I had known it at the stories which came from Grimesby Rylott. The latter showed none of the nervous excitement in his mannerisms that I noticed on the stage. His hands did not twitch convulsively, and his arms did not wave. Neither did he rave. His was a different, and a new personality. The voice was quiet, though resonant, and his face was wonderfully mobile. He had discarded the whiskers which bristled so the previous evening.

Holmes, on the other hand, retained much of the characteristic individuality which we all associate with him. His delicate hands, the fingers tapering gently to the tips, the sad-serious expression when the face was in repose, the well-known monotone and rapid continuity of words when talking, were all apiece with the Holmes of the stage. One gathered, too, that his observation was keen, and occasionally one caught him drumming his fingers.

The time slipped pleasantly and interestingly by. Rylott was summoned from our midst, and with a joke on his lips he left us. I walked presently with Holmes to a place not far distant, and at my request a door was unlocked. A large box was revealed, then opened. From its darkened interior were taken two magnificent “speckled bands,” one measuring twelve to fourteen feet in length, and the other seven feet. Carefully, and deftly, they were returned to their resting place, and I shuddered for the fate of Dr Grimesby Rylott.

Western Daily Press, Wednesday 24 August 1910
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk