Entertainment

Sherlock Holmes’ A Study in Scarlet opens at the Nickle Studio Sept. 14th

Fans of the world's most famous sleuth won't want to miss the first in what promises to be a terrific run of theatrical episodes featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Hosted by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series and adapted and directed by Albertus Koett, A Study in Scarlet kicks things off in the Nickle Studio on Sept. 14th with additional shows Sept. 15th and Sept. 16 as well.

Curtain for the Central Alberta Production is at 7:30 p.m.

According to a synopsis, "The world's most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his trusty sidekick, Dr. John Watson, team up in their first adventure together as they attempt to uncover a murder mystery that has Scotland Yard baffled.

"Taking place in Victoria era London, this play is the first in a series of plays to be presented over the season."

As mentioned, A Study in Scarlet will be the first in this episodic theatrical series - with more adventures slated for next February and June as well, said Koett.

"Every performance will feature a play adapted for the stage by Koett based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

As to the initial inspiration for the project, Koett said that back in January, he and his wife decided they would launch their own 30 books in 2017 challenge.

"We were going on a trip, and I pretty much grabbed the first thing that I saw on the book shelf - volume one of the Sherlock Holmes collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle," he recalled.

"I started reading it in the airport, then on the plane - and I just couldn't stop reading it! I was amazed at how accessible it was, and I started thinking how this is something that could be adapted to the stage. The idea really just went from there, and there is so much source material to go from, too.

"I thought I could create sort of an episodic, theatrical series with it."

He envisions productions not just for the upcoming season, but beyond that as well. There is little doubt local fans will be thrilled, as Sherlock Holmes is indeed one of those legendary literary characters who certainly endures in popular culture and beyond.

Doyle's abilities as such a clever author are astounding as well.

"Holmes can deduce things that no normal human being can," added Koett. "Someone may look at something and say, 'Well, how could he possibly figure that out? How could he possibly know that? He's Sherlock Holmes!"

Koett said that when it came time to adapting A Study in Scarlet, the process went quite smoothly.

"I'm setting it in the same era, and we are sticking fairly close to the source material as well," he said, adding there are a few changes along the way. "Another thing I've had to do is think ahead to future shows - one think Doyle didn't do was to really link any of his stories. You can open up the complete collection, go to anywhere, and you don't need to really know anything else (in relation to the other stories)."

Koett has had to provide a bit of a connection therefore between the productions - that way, things can build in momentum and reach a kind of dramatic climax in June with the season's final show, he said.

"It's been fun and I've really enjoyed the process," he added. "I really enjoy adapting. We are also being really respectful of Doyle and the source material."

He's also been working with a fairly large cast numbering about 14, although typically only four or five are on the stage at any given time. In the lead role is local actor Jason Steele. Paul Sutherland stars at Dr. Watson and Lorraine Stuart plays the part of Mrs. Hudson.

Although Doyle did come to tire of his ubiquitous sleuth after years of penning stories, there is no doubt he had a passion for crafting such tremendous stories - and an amazing skill to do so as well.

"He had a love for giving people this character and this experience and this sense of adventure of wanting to take people on this adventure with him."

Interestingly, when Doyle has Sherlock Holmes killed off in one of the stories, people in and around London in particular were both devastated and outraged.

"There was a public outcry," explained Koett with a chuckle, adding that some people even wore black arm bands as a symbol of grief in losing such a beloved character. To their relief, Holmes re-appeared about six years later in further tales.

"People just loved Sherlock Holmes!"

Koett said each show will also include some tunes by the Baker Street Band, which will feature local musicians plus lots of other treats and surprises to round out a really enjoyable evening.

Tickets are $12 at the door or are also available through the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre by visiting www.blackknightinn.ca.

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