A transatlantic web of corruption

SHERLOCK Holmes arrives at Bath Theatre Royal, from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th April, in an adaptation of one of Conan Doyle’s original tales, in a production that marks the 20th anniversary of Blackeyed Theatre Company.

Blackeyed Theatre’s production of Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear is in Bath before its London premiere at Southwark Playhouse and following a successful nationwide tour last year. Adapted by Nick Lane from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel, the story is crammed full of adventure, mystery and one or two rather brilliant deductions, and features original music composed by Tristan Parkes.

When Sherlock Holmes (Bobby Bradley) receives a mysterious coded message, warning of imminent danger, he and the faithful Dr Watson (Joseph Derrington) are drawn into a tale of intrigue and murder stretching from 221B Baker Street to an ancient, moated manor house and the bleak Pennsylvanian Vermissa Valley. Faced with a trail of bewildering clues, Holmes begins to unearth a darker, wider web of corruption, a secret society and the sinister work of one Professor Moriarty.

The Valley of Fear is performed by five actors with Bobby Bradley also playing the role of Baldwin, Joseph Derrington also as Thad Morris, Blake Kubena as McMurdo and Der White-Mason, and Gavin Molloy in multiple roles as Jack McGinty, Cecil Barker, Inspector McDonald and Moriarty. Alice Osmanski appears as Ettie Shafter, Mrs Hudson, Ivy Douglas and Captain Marvin.

Bobby Bradley’s previous credits include Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse, Hedda Gabler at the National Theatre and Irvine Welsh’s Crime on ITV and BritBox. Joseph Derrington’s credits include The Importance of Being Earnest in Belfast and Animal Farm at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.

The story, first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915, is loosely based on the American private detective, James McParland, a Molly Maguires and Pinkerton agent. The first book edition was published in New York in February 1915.

Blackeyed Theatre artistic director Adrian McDougall says: “I’m thrilled to bring this fabulous adaptation back to the stage this Spring. It just happens to coincide with our 20th birthday, and it’s fitting that Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear is such a joyous celebration of theatre.”

Writer-director Nick Lane says: “Of all the Holmes’ canon, The Valley of Fear isn’t a story I’d ever seen brought to the stage – possibly because it’s two tales in one, almost – part of it taking place in England, another part in the US. The thrill for me, being a huge fan of crime fiction on both sides of the Atlantic, was in exploring the different tones of the two narratives; points where they mirror one another, points where they diverge. It was a challenge, but an exciting one. I’m looking forward to working once again with a fabulous team to create something thrilling and visceral.”

Photographs by Alex Harvey-Brown