Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sherlock... Scrooge?

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes was visited by three ghosts? The ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas yet to come?

Sherlock Holmes has just returned from his three year absence after "plunging" into the Reichenbach falls. Professor Moriarty is dead, London has hardly any crime, and a bored Sherlock Holmes has retired. He has taken up his scientific experiments and is being even more rude than he usually is.
A very worried Watson goes to visit his friend but is thrown out, as is Detective Inspector Lestrade who comes in right after Watson, hoping for some help on a case.
(Sherlock doing experiments with Watson in the background).

After yelling at his landlady, Mrs. Hudson, Holmes falls asleep in his chair. Shortly he is woken up by a loud knocking.
"I'm not at home!" an annoyed Holmes yells.
The door swings open and ominous smoke pours out. A spirit bathed in green light walks into the sitting room at 221B Baker Street.
Sherlock Holmes quickly (and unemotionally) deduces that it is the ghost of Professor Moriarty. Holmes even shoots a bullet through the Professor's shoulder to make sure.

Moriarty tells Holmes that because he never allowed himself to love, he became a master criminal mind. They grapple with the morality of Holmes throwing Moriarty into the Falls at Reichenbach and then Moriarty leaves, telling Holmes that he feels compassion for him. Three spirits are to visit him - perhaps they will be able to help Holmes change; so that he doesn't end up as dastardly as Moriarty.
Then the Professor is sucked out the doorway back into the spirit world.
Sherlock Holmes foolishly laughs off the ghost and prepares so settle back down. Then the clock chimes the quarter of the hour. Then the half hour, then the next quarter! Then it chimes 1:00AM - the arrival time of the first ghost.
Shortly she arrives: The Spirit of Christmas Past.
She takes Holmes to the worst Christmas he ever experienced - the Christmas his mother died. His father urged him to study hard and Holmes was forced to overcome his grief. (We also learn that Holmes' real name is "William.")
Fast foreword a year and Mycroft, Sherlock's elder brother by seven years, takes him on a two week vacation to London where Sherlock first falls in love with the city.
Fast foreword another year or two - Sherlock is working for an acting company. He gives part of a Hamlet soliloquy and a girl comes rushing onto the stage, clapping her approval. She says he would make a superb Hamlet and then asks that he joins the rest of the cast for their party downstairs.
"Emphatically no," Sherlock replies cheekily.
She looks at him for a moment and then asked him to kiss her.
"Emphatically yes," Sherlock replies, still cheekily. They share an embrace and she says that he would make a good Romeo, and she a good Juliet. Holmes says that she would not make a good Juliet because Juliet was 13 and from a rich family, while she was 23 and from a poor family. He goes on to deduce several other things about her which both impresses and scares her.
He quickly explains his reasoning and then they argue a bit about the theater. Sherlock says (very cold and abrupt, as is his manner) that he is destined for better things and that he would be leaving the company, never to return.
(The Girl, with Young Sherlock. Old Sherlock is watching in the background.)

The girl says that she was under the impression that she and Sherlock had an Agreement. She says she is in love with Sherlock.
"I feared so," Sherlock replies.
They argue some more and finally part ways. It is then learned that she died two years later, acting in America.
The next stop is 221B Baker Street shortly after Watson first moves in. Watson is trying to hide a Christmas present pipe for Holmes in a place he wouldn't suspect. Mrs. Hudson steps in, unwraps the present, and sticks the pipe on his pipe wrack, saying that Holmes would never see it there and never guess it was a present.
Sure enough, Holmes admitted, he didn't notice the pipe for several months.
Spirit One's time is up and she hands Holmes off to The Spirit of Christmas Present, a cheery fellow decked out in bright green and red. He toasts to Holmes before whisking him off to see what Watson is up to.
Watson is with a friend, Tim, and relates to him all the details of his earlier spat with Sherlock Holmes. Tim says that once, when he was a little boy, he knew of a man just like Holmes. Suddenly, though, the man had a revelation and came to Tim's house on Christmas day bearing a large turkey.
"He was Uncle Ebenezer from then on," Tim says with a smile.
Watson goes on to say that though Holmes is the most infuriating person in the wide world, he is the most eccentric best friend ever.
Next Spirit Two takes Holmes to a street where two of the Baker Street Irregulars (beggar boys Holmes employs to get information and to keep them from pickpocketing). Whiggins, the Irregulars leader, has been jailed on a false accusation. The two Irregulars say that they wish Holmes was there to get their friend out.
Holmes is infuriated - why didn't the dunderheaded police look for evidence?
The Spirit then takes Holmes to Scotland Yard where a bright young officer is saying that he thinks there are some strange qualities and lack of evidence on the case which Lestrade had tried to consult Holmes upon. The young officer asks to interrogate the suspects once more but is refused. Holmes, even more mad at Lestrade (because he's wrong and the young officer is right), gets taken back home to Baker Street where the Third Spirit, the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come, shows up. He is a masked figure, quite evil looking and dark, wearing all black.
He takes Holmes to a graveyard where two mourners talk about Sherlock Holmes and Watson. One of them has died and no one was at the funeral.
Sherlock, shocked, asks to be taken to see some normal people on the street - what is life like without Holmes' morality?
The Spirit does as Holmes wishes and he finds himself on the street, watching Whiggins (recently released after 15 years in prison) punching and pickpocketing people.
Holmes is very upset and asks what happened to all his scientific discoveries - all his deductive techniques - were they adopted?
The Spirit takes Holmes to a battlefield. Two World War One officers talk about Sherlock Holmes - how he was such a great man. The senior officer says he met Sherlock Holmes once, right before he retired. The senior officer used to work at Scotland Yard. Holmes refused to help him and Lestrade on a case on Christmas....
They allude to a Professor who is making a secret weapon.
Holmes is confused, but the Professor - Moriarty - had been dead for years! Who is this Professor person they talk about?
Just then a singing starts up in the German trenches. Soon a German braves No Man's Land (the space between trenches) with an offering of peace - sausage! All over the battlefield men are getting out of the trenches and sharing treats - chocolate, bread, cigarettes, wine, beer, pictures of loved ones, etc.
It is all left behind as the Third Spirit takes Holmes to a British HQ building where the superior officers are discussing the unexpected Truce and ordering its termination. Then the Professor is shown in. He describes his new invention, a gas which will kill - mustard gas. It will be ready to ship out at the end of the week.
As he leaves, the superior officer says, "Very nice to meet you Sherlock Holmes! And thank you for your effort to help with the war!"
"Don't call me Sherlock Holmes! I am simply the Professor now!" the Professor snaps and leaves.
Sherlock Holmes is distraught - he will be the cause of so much pain and suffering! He begs the Spirit to take him to the Watson of the present. His wish is fulfilled and Holmes is back in the graveyard - it wasn't him that the two mourners were talking about - it was Watson! Dead without a friend in the world!
Sherlock Holmes folds over in grief and then finds himself back in 221B Baker Street - it is Christmas morning. Before Holmes can collect his thoughts one of the Baker Street Irregulars rushes in with news that Whiggins has-
"Whiggins has been put in jail." Sherlock Holmes waves the Irregular away.
"How did you know that?"
"It it my job to know things."
Holmes then has the Irregular take down two telegrams, one telling the Bright Young Scotland Yard Officer to meet him at the scene of the crime the next morning, and one to Inspector Lestrade, telling him to release Whiggins because the facts don't fit his arrest.
Holmes also gives the Irregular money to buy a gift basket to be delivered to Watson, and money to reserve a special dinner room for all the Irregulars - they would have a Christmas Feast! And because you can't go to a restaurant wearing beggar's clothes, Holmes gave the Irregular enough money to buy all new clothes and bathes for the 11 Irregulars (including Whiggins!).
The Irregular runs off to do as he was told and Mrs. Hudson comes in. Holmes gives her a great big kiss on the cheek and promises to be a better tenant.
Then Holmes is off to see Watson himself. They make up and Holmes offers Watson the room he had previously occupied at Baker Street (because Watson was having some financial trouble).
They had a toast to their friendship and the play ended.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol the play was called.
I went to see it with my mom this morning. It was written by a local playwright and was absolutely mind-blowingly BRILLIANT beyond compare!!!
It was basically Sherlock Holmes and A Christmas Carol mixed together. It was brilliant. Wow. I can't believe it.
First of all, the author must have been a HUGE geek to write it because he put SO many tasty references from the books into his play (right down to the Persian slipped full of tobacco and the correspondence knifed to the mantelpiece which were part of the set).
Secondly, the acting. This was one of the most accurate portrayals of Sherlock Holmes that I have ever seen. I found it quite amazing that the guy playing Holmes was so in character because of the mixed plot lines. He played it brilliantly, though. Instead of being afraid or surprised at the Spirits (as normal humans would), Holmes got bored with them and was like, 'there is a Spirit in my room, whatever. Bored. *yawn.*'
I already mentioned the accuracy from the books (right away, before the play started, I noticed the Persian slipper and the knifed correspondence on the mantle). I was also very very impressed with the historical accuracy. In 1914 World War One a Christmas Truce actually was held spontaneously. It started with a German singing. Then both sides started singing. Then brave soldiers began going over No Man's Land to trade gifts and show family pictures. Sadly, the next day they went back to killing each other. There is a brilliant movie about it but I can't remember the title (I think the title is in German).
The costumes were gorgeous and period accurate and the actors all faked British accents very well!
I loved how all the story lines intertwined and how we learned about Sherlock Holmes's past. It seems like what they showed could have really happened to him. The only part I didn't like about it was that Sherlock's "real" name was "William."
Another thing I really enjoyed was that there were only seven actors! Everyone except Holmes and The Girl (whose name I can't remember) had at least two or three parts.
Also, they didn't change the set at all (except for small things like bringing in a chair or putting a gravestone on stage).

This play was a 11/10 and I would go see it again and again and again! Everything was so accurate and professional and beautiful and wonderful and brilliant! It was great and I loved it!
Thanks for the surprise field trip Mom!

Live long and prosper! =D


  1. I would be over in a flash to see that with you! It sounds brilliant. (Though I'm with you, I don't think I would like to believe his real name is William. Makes his family sound too normal and I like to believe they were slightly batty. I mean, to have sons like that they would have to be. Then to give them names like Sherlock and Mycroft.)

    Having Sherlock as the Professor is a brilliant idea. That would certainly get across to him!

  2. Ooh, sounds like a neat play! Our local Christmas plays are almost always something like Miracle of 34th Street. Or 42nd. I don't remember the street number xD
    Though I must admit, our high school does awesome musicals. They're doing Beauty and the Beast this year. They did 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown' last year.