Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily

Rebecca Varidel
5th Nov 2022

It was in 1889 that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle met Oscar Wilde at a dinner at The Langham Hotel in London hosted by an American publishing agent who had come to commission new works of fiction from each of them for Lippincott's monthly magazine. It wasn't until 2009 however, that Sherlock Holmes met Oscar Wilde and his beloved friend Lillie Langtry (the Jersey Lily) not in London but in an American play written by Katie Forgette.

Bringing to the stage such well known characters as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, Mrs. Lillie Langtry, Oscar Wilde, and Professor James Moriarty (albeit some of them fictional) may present some challenges. Don't we all bring preconceptions about how these folk will act let alone look? Or even what they will say, as we may know their famous quotes.

Enticing. Persuasive. Entertaining. Genesian Theatre Sydney has delivered the goods with not only all these historic figures but first and foremost with an evening of thoroughly entertaining live theatre. From start to finish we are on the case with Sherlock, as director John Grinston keeps us guessing what will happen next in this intriguing well-paced mystery. And his cast keeps us guffawing too. There are many memorable moments during the performance, humourous, romantic, touching.

As the loyal sidekick Watson, Carlin Hurdis moves us. His humanness is comforting, as Hurdis captures the glances, gestures, we might have imagined. He emanates loyal. Igor Bulanov articulates the opponent Moriaty as a celluloid replica, you will believe his is real. Neilson Brown performs as brilliantly in a purple dress and wrap as he does in his tweeds, but the pipe and hat are missing. That famed logical accuracy is plated as the main, and Brown gives us sprinkles of emotions as side dishes.

Harder perhaps to portray famous reality, and that challenge is accomplished when Nathan Moss completes the story for Oscar Wilde. His mannerisms are impeccable. Wit, yes the script and Moss pitch it at us in reams. And who doesn't fall under the spell of the charming Molly Haddon as Lillie Langtry, well it's not just Wilde Holmes and Watson - she touches the audience also. Meg Girdler gives us oomph, Liam O'Carroll and Gunjeet Singh Chattha round out the plot of well cast roles.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily is a well-rounded play of light-hearted entertainment that promises a night out of good old-fashioned fun and laughter.

Now performing at Genesian Theatre until 10 December 2022. And in other news, the Genesian Theatre remains at Kent Street until at least April 2023.

Photo by Craig O'Regan