Watson: The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes tells the story of a good man trapped in the shadow of a great man. Funny, moving, and theatrically inventive, this high-energy play balances witty comedy and dramatic mystery to recount the last great tale of the legendary Sherlock Holmes as seen through the eyes of his trusted friend and colleague, Dr. John H. Watson. From pantomime to Punch and Judy and with the theatrical ingenuity of Broadway’s The 39 Steps, Watson tells a grand tale of heroes and villains that will captivate your audience until the very end!
"Hilarious and very entertaining."–Terry Morgan, LAist
Cast Size: 4F, 7M
Run Time: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes
Plot / Synopsis
Watson begins in 1894 outside of an abandoned 221B Baker Street. Dr. John Watson has returned at the behest of a mysterious gypsy’s cryptic admonitions. There he finds a manuscript he wrote and abandoned years earlier. As Watson reads, we are transported to Baker Street in 1891 and are introduced to a drug addled Sherlock Holmes. Holmes, quite paranoid, begs Watson’s help in transporting a small box to the embattled island of Cyprus, while avoiding the clutches of the nefarious Napoleon of Crime, Professor James Moriarty, crafty Russians and the ever-hated Turks.
On board a steam train, Holmes survives an attack from a gang of Turks and Watson reconsiders his journey. The two part ways after arriving at Dover Priory Station. At the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover, Professor James Moriarty accosts Holmes. Holmes connects him to the attack on the train. Before he can deduce the Professor’s intentions, Moriarty pounces. They both plummet off the cliffs. Sherlock survives, soaking wet, but none the worse for wear. He reveals to Watson the box they are to carry was sent directly by Queen Victoria. This fact and a note threatening Mary’s life, delivered via messenger, convince Watson to continue.
Across the English Channel and into Paris, Holmes and Watson meet their contact; Sherlock’s former love interest and rival, Irene Adler. She leads the duo on a thrilling horseback chase to Vienna against a gang of Turks. In Vienna, Sherlock is subject to an intervention by the outrageous and controversial Sigmund Freud. Barely holding on to sobriety, Holmes falls apart in Budapest. Moriarty, who survived the fall off the cliffs as well, surprises them, shoots Holmes and knocks Watson unconscious.
In the court of Queen Victoria, Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s older, smarter brother and point man for the mission, delivers the bad news. Victoria reveals the box, if not brought to a confidential summit on Cyprus, could propel England and the world into conflict. Meanwhile, Watson wakes up in the clutches of Moriarty. In Budapest, Irene finds the mortally wounded Holmes. He holds on to life just long enough to express his affection for her.
Watson awakens in a minaret in Istanbul. He proceeds to out the Professor as a traitor to his nation in league with both Russians and Turks. As one last moment of cruelty before killing Watson, Moriarty reveals Mary is still alive. Watson, steeled by the news, escapes the minaret and defeats Moriarty. Watson finishes the trek to Cyprus and returns the box to the Queen at the summit. Watson resolves the conflict between the Turks and Russians before returning to his home and wife.
As he concludes his tale, Watson realizes he was not alone on Baker Street. The gypsy applauds his accomplished storytelling before letting Watson in on a story of her own; that she is actually the master of disguise, Sherlock Holmes. He faked his death to ferret out Moriarty’s minions. Holmes urges Watson to publish the tale and rekindle their partnership. Watson declines and sets off on his own, as his own man and hero of his own adventure.
Setting: Simple settings suggesting Baker Street, a steam train, Paris, Vienna, and the Court of Queen Victoria
John Watson – Male, Mid 30's - Mid 40's. The agreeable and bumbling sidekick to Sherlock Holmes who becomes a hero.
Sherlock Holmes – Male, Mid Thirties to Early 40's. Arrogant, tortured, and paranoid with a romantic streak. Adept at physical comedy.
Professor Moriarty – Male, Late 30's to Late 40's. The reptilian arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes. will begin the play as a stagehand as well as play six characters in Victoria Station.
Sigmund Freud – Male or Female, Early 40's to Early '50's. Zany Austrian doctor with unusual methodology. Will potentially double as Queen Victoria.
Mary Marston – Female, Mid 20's to Mid 30's. The concerned, understanding wife of John Watson. Must sing.
Irene Adler – Female, Mid 20's to Mid 30's. Tough, brash, and intelligent. She is the only woman to outsmart Sherlock Holmes.
Mycroft – Male, Late 30s to Late 40's. Snide, unkempt, and quick with an insult. He is Sherlock's older, smarter, brother.
Stagehands – All types and ethnicities; male and female. They play actual stagehands, moving set pieces on, off and around the stage as well as various supporting characters throughout the play. Must be athletic and versatile actors who can play several distinct characters within the course of the play. The stagehands almost never leave the stage and play an integral part in the story’s action and the play’s theatricality.