New Theatre Group Debuts First Production With "Sherlock Holmes"

He's one of the most well-known fictional characters ever created and he is coming to life in St. Albans this weekend.

The Astral Theatre Collective is staging "Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel," which features the iconic English detective who was created in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

While the Guiness Book of World Records lists Holmes as the most portrayed movie character in history, he has fewer stage incarnations.

"This is the first 'Sherlock Holmes' production in the history of the Charleston metro, and and the first one in the state since '83," Lawrence Burgess (Co-Writer, Director, "R.M. Donelson") said.

Written by the show's star and director, the play is based on Doyle's public domain writings.

"Mostly you know it's just pulling the facts out of the stories," John Johnson (Co-Writer, "Sherlock Holmes") said. "Conan Doyle was so specific on various things of Holmes' character that we can use. And I've tried to pull in as much as I can. I hope that I won't be a disappointmnt to everybody's who's used to the other ones because everybody has to put their slant on the character."

"This is the definitive Holmes," Burgess said. "And I want people to not only understand the nature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but to see a production that's a little bit sexier, darker, a lot more meaningful than most Holmes productions."

The story takes place in 1895, a few years after Holmes' epic confrontation with his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. Back in London, Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson face a new mystery which threatens the British Empire itself.

"I think our villain certainly takes things a step further than most Moriartys," Rachel Sanford (Irene Adler) sadi. "Most Moriartys are kind of cartoonish. And ours is a lot more real and an actual kind of threat to Sherlock."

The Astral Theatre Collective presents "Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of Whitechapel"
Adapted by John Johnson and Lawrence Burgess from the works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Directed by Lawrence Burgess
Astral Theatre Collective
Fri-Sat July 8-9 at 8pm
Sun July 10 at 2pm
Alban Arts Center
65 Olde Main Street, St Albans WV
Tickets $20


Sherlock Holmes............John Johnson
Irene Adler.....................Rachel Sanford
Dr. John Watson..................Ronn Smith
Mycroft Holmes..........Sean McCracken
Inspector Lestrade............Jim Williams
Isabella Murray..............Aubre Roberts
Queen Victoria...................Trudy Oliver
Mrs. Hudson..................Nina Surbaugh
R.M. Donelson........Lawrence Burgess
Ensemble includes Norman Clerc and Gary Surbaugh

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