I was sadly not able to see the play in London 1989 as Jeremy Brett was unwell at the time. But i have since heard this and have my own copy of the play. You really must read this play. It is so wonderfully written. Sometimes heartwrenching, sometimes funny and also a mystery play which takes us into the very mind and soul of Sherlock Holmes and the Secret of Sherlock Holmes is revealed!. The play takes you back from when Holmes and Watson first met to thst fateful day at Rechinbach Falls as written in The Final Problem. When i read this play the two people who echoed in the play as Holmes and Watson were of course Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. Two brilliant actors who played the roles to perfection! They really should have won BAFTAs for their performances. If you are lucky enough to have the audio of the play which has them both performing on stage, please do take the phone of the hook, curl up on the couch and switch the world off for a few hours and enjoy reading the play as you listen. But the play can be read in it's own right without the audio !! Secret of Sherlock Holmes will make you laugh and cry. It is a tale of true friendship. Unputdownable !! A MUST BUY for Sherlock Holmes followers everywhere !!
I was lucky enough to see Messrs Brett and Hardwicke performing this play not just once, not even twice, but more than a dozen times over the course of its run. That includes five performances in the week it was in Richmond alone - I was a little bit of a Holmes obsessive in those days. That was in 1988, so the brave Mr Brett had not yet suffered the physical debilitation that made his later acting performances so very difficult to watch.
Having viewed and indeed memorised every moment of every one of Granada's fabulous episodes to that point, I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of anticipation as we waited for the play to start on that first night. We had front row seats, my girlfriend and I. Foolish error that, taking a lady to see Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. He was such a brilliant actor and managed to recreate every intricate little facet of his performance on that stage. By the end of the evening, my then ex-girlfriend was completely in love with him. And who in their right mind could blame her?
As has been mentioned, pretty much the entire first act of the play is lifted straight out of various locations within Conan Doyle's Canon. 'A Study In Scarlet', where Holmes and Watson meet and decide to share lodgings, was of course never filmed by Granada, so it was a delight to see it worked into this play. We are witnesses to the friendship between these two amazing characters, right through to Holmes' escapades at the Reichenbach Falls. Then, it gets interesting...
Jeremy Paul has managed to create a clever and original storyline, firmly supported by Doyle's own words but with enough confidence to take the characters in a completely different direction. There is a twist in the tale and it's a good one. It'll certainly make you think.
It is a great shame that the play was never videotaped. Although, if you have a look on a certain video-sharing site, someone has uploaded an actual recording of the play being performed at Wyndhams Theatre in 1989. Only the first half hour, but it is most definitely better than nothing. Even without that however, this play is something you can cuddle up on the sofa with - not forgetting, of course, to bring your meerschaum pipe with you - and to just allow the memories of those two wonderful actors to bring the script to life. You won't be disappointed.