The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
 

Sherlock Holmes Comes To The Musical Stage

Everyone knows about the most famous Sherlock Holmes mystery, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” It has been filmed in Hollywood and by the BBC on numerous occasions, but to see it onstage as a musical is another thing altogether. The Dickens classic Great Expectations, which many people know from the film that was directed by David Lean is also to have another life onstage. But this time they are linked together as two tuneful Classic Victorian Tales.

Crime writer Teddy Hayes, known for his Devil Barnett Harlem-based detective series has turned his hand to bringing the hound and the adventures of young Pip to life onstage in his latest project. In each case, the book of the musical stays with the traditional storyline but is enhanced by 12 original songs with razor sharp lyrics and stylised dancing.

The songs range from Sherlock Holmes telling Watson in no uncertain terms when the good doctor doubts one of his theories, that he is a “Man of Logical Deduction” with a throbbing tango beat, to the heart touching love ballad “Magic To Me,” between Beryl Stapleton and Sir Henry in the Baskerville Beast. In Great Expectations Pip gets a thorough scrubbing that almost takes his skin off in the very funny song “Clean Clean Clean” as his sister prepares him to meet the daunting Miss Havisham and “I Am The Man” sung by the prisoner Magwitch in a romping bar room style.

Teddy Hayes who wrote all the songs as well as the book for both shows says “When I wrote these shows I felt I wanted to do two things. From a musical point of view I needed to create something that the audience would be familiar with and enjoy while at the same time giving them things they wouldn’t expect. I also wanted the show to have the kind of visual image that would reach out and touch people. I think we have something that people will enjoy and also I especially wanted to present these stories in a way that school children can relate to, because sometimes a musical version of a story will strike a chord that a novel will not.

Both stories are part of the national GCSE reading curriculum which is another reason that I think that the presentation of these shows during half term might find an appreciative audience.

Though each story remains intact, there is still plenty of fun and surprises all along the way. Teddy Hayes feels that the key to making this production work is the ability to tell both stories in a unique and interesting way while at the same time keeping the mysterious and dark Victorian feeling that each tale evokes.

Hayes gives much of the credit to his creative team which includes a dedicated cast of professional actors many of whom are returning after having worked on the original Baskerville Beast production in 2005. One group of actors will perform the roles in both shows as in repertory theatre. The returnees will include co-producer John Elnaugh who plays Sherlock Holmes as well as Mr. Jaggers the lawyer, along with Paul Engers, as Dr.Watson and John Pyle playing the role of Barrymore the butler, Iain Dootson as Magwitch while Jackie Scarvellis will don her 50 year old wedding dress as the demented Miss Havisham.

"Some people thought that the idea was a bit odd because the stories are so well known and they saw any deviation from the tried and true as sacrilege, but our treatment of both stories will offer something different and new and is very much aimed at being the kind of fun show that one would want to take the whole family to see."

The Baskerville Beast and Great Expectations are being performed at The Rose Theatre, Bankside, 56 Park Street Bankside South London SE1 9AS from 24th May to 6th June.

For more information about ticket sales and bookings please contact

The Rose Theatre at

www.rosetheatre.org.uk

020 7261 9565

For Group Tickets 020 7907 7000

Also see video clips for The Baskerville Beast at www.thebaskervillebeast.co.uk

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