Theatre poster Sherlock Holmes by Charles Frohman
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All pictures copyright ACD/RLG Collection
Playing Sherlock Holmes
When Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, he had no idea of how popular his hero was to become. Soon famous as a man of many disguises, Sherlock began to appear in places other than books and magazines.
In 1899, he was played on stage by the charismatic American actor William Gillette (who coined the phrase ?Elementary my dear Watson?). On screen he has been played by many different actors, such as Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett and currently, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Holmes has even appeared as a cartoon character. In the guise of Basil, the Great Mouse Detective, equipped with deerstalker and magnifying glass, he is known to the very youngest of children.
The New Theatre Royal Drama Group in Portsmouth ? children of five to eleven years old ? meet weekly for drama workshops. Responding enthusiastically to stories of Sherlock Holmes, they have improvised and performed two plays about him, and chosen toys and games to go in the accompanying case for their exhibition.
A family man himself, and the father of five children, Arthur Conan Doyle would surely have welcomed this enterprise, which is yet another original addition to the seemingly infinite variety of ways of playing Sherlock Holmes.
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