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

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Sherlock Holmes (William Gillette)
September: Theatre Royal, Preston, England
September: Victoria Theatre, Burnley, England
October: Royal Aquarium, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
October: Theatre Royal, Lincoln, England

September 23 - 28: Crystal Palace Theatre, London, England
December 2 - 11: Opera House, Cheltenham, England

February: Oxford, England
March 9 - 14: Theatre Royal, Exeter, Devon, England
August 24 - 29: Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham, England
August 31 - September 5: Grand Theatre, Leeds, England
September 14 - 19: Victoria Opera House, Burnley, England
November: Royalty Theatre & Opera House, Barrow-in-Furness, England
November: King’s Theatre, Sunderland, England

January 16: Public Hall, Arbroath, Scotland
April 5: Arbroath, Scotland
April 19 - 24: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Dundee, Scotland
August 2 - 7: Theatre Royal, Bradford, England
August 23 - 28: Grand Theatre, Nottingham, England
October 4 - 6: Theatre Royal, Worthing, England
October 18 - 23: Gaiety Theatre, Hastings, England
November 1 - 6: Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, England
December 6 - 11: Theatre Royal, Preston, England

April 7 - 12: Theatre Royal, Leeds, England
June: Empire Theatre, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England
June: Walthamstow Palace, Walthamstow, London, England

April 6 - 11: Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Scotland

May: Grand Theatre, Croydon, England
October 1 - 6: Gaiety Theatre, Hastings, England

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


Fine Singing and Acting

Pays a Visit to the Exeter Theatre Royal

Who has not read and re-read the stories written by Sir Conan Doyle around the amazing personality of “Sherlock Holmes,” that king among detectives? This week Exonians have the privilege of witnessing one of the stories reproduced on the stage at the Theatre Royal.

Mr H. Hamilton Stewart and a most talented company commenced a week’s visit last evening, and the presentation was received in a most hearty manner by the large audience. Mr Stewart acts in the title role, and his impersonation of the strange yet fascinating character leaves nothing to be desired. He invested the character with life. The alternate moods of apparent languor and activity of Holmes were admirably portrayed, and the play of features was remarkable, as befitting the part. His dramatic talent was most marked.

The play teems with thrilling elements, the audience being held spellbound by the dangers that confront the great detective when working out the details of the strange case of Miss Faulkner, or dealing with the prince of criminals, Professor Moriarty. This character was most capably taken by Mr H. Ryeland Leigh. The scenes in the Professor’s underground office, in the Stepney gas chamber, and in Dr Watson’s room were thrilling in the extreme.

Miss A. Bruce-Joy was a sweet “Alice Faulkner,” whilst Miss Celia Gordon was a dashing “Madge Larrabee.” The part of “Billy,” Sherlock Holmes’ page, was remarkably well taken by Master Leslie Hall. Mr Gatesby Bell was excellent as “John Forman,” and Mr Douglas Murray acted ably as “Dr Watson.”

Right through the whole of the cast the acting was well done, the company undoubtedly being one of the most capable that have visited the city this season. If fine acting and a good plot count, there should be no vacant seats at the Theatre Royal this week.

"Sherlock Holmes” will appear nightly and on Friday at a matinee.

Western Times, Tuesday 10 March 1908
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk


Thrills Audiences at Her Majesty’s Theatre

This week the central figure at Her Majesty’s Theatre is the redoubtable detective “Sherlock Holmes”; next week it will be the no less redoubtable thief “Raffles.” It is a quaint coincidence and an interesting antithesis. Neither detective nor thief can ever be a true hero in the usual acceptance of the word, and neither can be crowned with the halo of genuine romance. In so far as they take it out of the beaten track they please our fancy; but as neither is true to human nature and each falls short of anything approaching lofty ideals, both detective and thief command only a second place in modern popular fiction.

In the chain of tales written around the astute detective by Conan Doyle, “Sherlock Holmes” is rather a deus ex machina than a hero. His wonderful deductions, his silent methods, and his cool self-confidence won him a wide public in the days when the stories first appeared. There was something weird and even repellent in the inexorable process of his cold, logical brain when transferred to the stage. The character retains much which attracts and much which repels in fiction.

Holmes next wins our hearts while he makes us uneasy for his safety in moments of bodily danger; his quick wit and readiness attract us, while his callousness repels; and the touch of sentiment which is introduced into his character does not make the detective any more real nor is it sufficiently developed to ring quite true.

Still, it is a play that thrills. Surprise is an essential factor in every successful drama, and the surprises both in dialogue and action are many, fresh, and complete in this play. In spite of its far-fetched nature and its forced sentiment, “Sherlock Holmes” arrests the attention and keeps the audience on tip-toe of excitement for the next sensation.

To give the play full value, the company must render it with intensity and grip. Mr Hamilton Stewart as the detective looked the part, and acted up to the traditions. He drew good contrast between the apparently sluggish, indolent Holmes of the early scenes and the languorous cocaine slave of the second act, while the activity and quick resource of the detective were forcibly effective in the gas chamber. Smart, effective sayings which keep the command of the situation in the hands of the detective, were given with splendid snap and clearness by Mr Stewart.

The rest of the company failed only in the early scenes to grip the audience, and the melodramatic nature of the play became over-apparent. Mr Louis Alexander as James Larrabee acted all on one key, and that a smashing, rasping one without variety. Mr Seton Bernard as Sidney Prince was keen and amusing without overdoing the part.
Mr Robert Gilbert made a forbidding Moriarty, and Master Thomas Russell was a very smart and eager “Buttons.” Miss Edith Vogne was strongly melodramatic as Madge Larrabee, and Miss A. Bruce Joy did as much as could be done with the colourless character of Alice Faulkner.

The play is well put on both as regards scenery and dresses.

Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 20 April 1909
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



Before Sheriff Guy, at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday, a theatrical agent named Stewart D. Wright, residing at 87 Overdale street, Langside, Glasgow, sued H. Hamilton Stewart, manager of the “Sherlock Holmes” Touring Company for a week’s wages amounting to £2 5s, in lieu of notice.

He had been engaged on a fortnight’s notice, and complained that when the tour was brought to an end he only received one week’s notice. As advance agent, working ahead of the company, he should have received notice a full week prior to the artistes playing in the company so that he could finish as they started upon the last week.

The reason for the breaking up of the tour was that the company was not doing particularly well owing to the pantomime competition.

It was pointed out by pursuer’s agent that a fortnight’s notice was provided for in the letter of engagement. On this ground, decree was granted.

Aberdeen Journal, Tuesday 11 May 1909
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk


On Monday, Nov. 1, the Play, in Four Acts, entitled

The version of Sherlock Holmes, by William Gillette and A. Conan Doyle, in which the former achieved a notable success in London some few years ago, is being presented at the Alexandra this week, by Mr H. Hamilton Stewart, who himself appears in the title role. Mr Stewart admirably realises in appearance Conan Doyle’s famous detective, and the cool and imperturbable method he adopts renders his portrayal of the part a highly effective one. In fact, it is a performance that could be compared, not to Mr Stewart’s disadvantage, with that of any of his predecessors in the part.

Another finished and clever piece of work is the Professor Moriarty of Mr James Skea, whose rendering of the arch-villain is duly truculent without being in any degree exaggerated. The more conventional villain, James Larrabee,, has a quite efficient exponent in Mr A.C. Holmes, who makes the most of all his opportunities.

Alice Faulkner is prettily and sympathetically played by Miss Grace Perl. Holmes’s servant, Billy, is played smartly and with considerable vivacity by Master Thomas Russell; and the John Forman of Mr Fred Alkin deserves praise. Miss Florence Hunt plays Madge Larrabee with a full appreciation of the possibilities the part affords; and the other female roles are successfully filled by Misses Marie Richardson, Grace Howard, and Wilmer.

By useful sketches of minor parts Messrs. Arthur Shelton, Henry Littlejohn, Frank H. Moar, S. Bernard, E. Morden, and F.C. Berridge contribute to the general success.

The play is adequately mounted.

The Era, Saturday 6 November 1909
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



Who that has read of the exploits of Sherlock Holmes has not wished to see the man?

One felt, watching Mr Hamilton Stewart at the Theatre Royal, that he was the thinker whose reason led him certainly and unhaltingly from the known to the unknown. Tall and pale, with the face and manner of a thinker, his deep, but quiet voice compelled attention to every utterance. The half-closed eyes, the nervous twitchings of the delicate fingers, were there, the quiet confidence which seemed so like indifference.

The scene where Holmes and his arch-foe sit in his study at opposite sides of the table is as thrilling as anyone could desire. One watches eagerly every movement, though they are but movements of the hand or head. The play is convincing proof that exciting situations are not inseparable from noise and gunpowder.

Mr Hamilton Stewart is supported by a capable company. Miss Bruce Joy as Alice Faulkner, and Miss Edith Vogne as Madge Larrabee, afford a splendid study in character contrast; while Mr Raymond de Claise, Mr John Richter, and Mr Arnold Raper, contribute much to the atmosphere of reality by their clever acting.

Yorkshire Evening Post, Tuesday 8 April 1913
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk



This week the management are supplying another old favourite, and the appreciation of the audiences is most marked. Sir A. Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” is one of those startling, sensational, and yet entertaining plays that never lose their charm, and it has the advantage of a good company.

Mr Hamilton Stewart is a host in himself. Of course the whole “go” of the play depends on the merit of the great detective, and Mr Stewart presents a “Sherlock Holmes” who keeps the audience spellbound as they watch his subtle movements and almost superhuman powers of observation.

His friend, we are all so familiar with, “Dr Watson,” finds a good exponent in Mr G.W. Russell, and the chief villain of the piece, “Professor Moriarty” is staged in much reality by Mr Arthur G. Leigh. He is a great success.

Two more very reputable villains are “Mr and Mrs Larrabee,” the interesting “Madge” being well portrayed by Miss Noel Graham. “Alice Faulkner,” the heroine, whose troubles are so many and her perils so great, has a good substitute in Miss Queenie Stanley, while Miss Monteith is responsible for “Theresa.”

The whole play goes with a swing, and the applause of the excited and delighted audiences must be a treat to any company to hear.

Surrey Mirror, Friday 4 May 1917
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk