The Final Post

It has been more than a year since I posted to this site. Of course It makes sense since this is just a promotional site. But I thought I should at least do a finishing stroke.

The play was a rousing success! It was the most profitable and well attended of the season. And I was so proud of my cast and crew.

I hope some day that I can direct another Sherlock Holmes–a more traditional version–but it was such a pleasure to do this wonderful, creative and funny pastiche. And it encouraged me to finally join the local Sherlock Holmes club, The Bootmakers.

I’m just beginning my directorial duties for The Mumberley Inheritance, which if you liked Reluctant Sherlock than please also check this out, coming in June of 2015.

Thank you everyone who came to the show. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes community theatre can be magical.

Scarborough Mirror Review

Scarborough Mirror | Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Arts & Entertainment


Play begins as a ghost hunt and becomes a murder mystery
as everyone tries to solve the case.

by Maria Tzavaras

sherlock1When there is a murder, there is no better detective to solve the case than the famous Sherlock Holmes.

The Scarborough Theatre Guild’s first production of the season, The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes by David Belke, begins as a ghost hunt that tuns into a murder mystery and a battle of logic and wit in an attempt to solve the case.

When a ghostly presence disrupts the household at Baffleur Grange, the manor of Desmond and Abigail Westhaven (Gregory Hertel, Karen Brown) and their daughter Rose (Juile Costen), Desmond calls on Arthur Conan Doyle (Len Henderson) to help with the haunting that has caused most of their staff to leave in fear.

Doyle, a doctor, is also the famed author of the most beloved detective of the literary world, Sherlock Holmes (Damien Gulde), and once he arrives at the manor, so does Mr. Holmes.

The twist is that only Doyle can see Sherlock, despite having “killed him off” in a story two years earlier. And while Doyle is set on investigating the paranormal and figuring out who the ghost is, the ever logical Holmes challenges him to think rationally and seek out the logical explanation to the so-called ghost.

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Playwright’s Best Wishes

Today is opening night. I think we have ironed out all the rough edges but you never know what is going to happen — that’s what makes live theatre exciting! And what an honour it is to receive a note today of “Best Wishes” from a busy playwright like David Belke. (When I did Twelfth Night Shakespeare never even replied to my emails.) This is going to by such a fun show. I hope you will come out and see it and please send me your comments.scarborough opening

The Game is Afoot!

sherlockholmes_graphic_600Opening night will soon be upon us. I have been so busy with last minute business that I have not had time to post all the rehearsal photos (I promise to do this as soon as I can). In the mean time let me share my Director’s Note from the program.

I have been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I read the stories as a boy. And I have loved many of the wonderful portrayals of Holmes in film. My personal favourite is Basil Rathbone, with Jeremy Brett a close second. Though I do believe that Holmes and Watson are at their best situated in late Victorian London, I am enjoying the updated modern TV versions—especially Benedict Cumberbatch. I have wanted to direct a Sherlock Holmes play for some time and, though it seems that Holmes would be a popular subject for dramatization, the limits of community theatre make Holmes on stage very difficult. Most Sherlock Holmes plays have large casts of mostly men, ­while community theatres often have more female members than male. Sherlock Holmes plays contain multiple and elaborate settings and pyrotechnics—too difficult and expensive for most community theatres. So it was my sheer delight to discover the “Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes” by Canadian playwright David Belke—with a moderate-sized cast, good women’s roles, good humour and chock-full of Sherlockian trivia. I hope you will enjoy watching it as much as I have directing it. – Mike Ranieri


Gulde on Holmes

Damien Gulde talks about his role in STG’s production of “The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes” by David Belke, at the Scarborough Village Theatre, Oct. 2013.

Gulde created this Character Acrostic to help his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes:
Scientific | Heedless | Excitable | Rational | Logical | Obsequious | Cunning | Kinetic
Honorable | Observant | Linear | Misogynistic | Egotistical | Skeptical

Sherlock Holmesiana

“The Reluctant Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes” isn’t the first time Holmes has appeared on the Scarborough Village Theatre stage. In January of 2004 STG presented “The Hound of the Baskervilles” directed by the talented and all-round wonderful person Mike Woodbridge. For your interest here is Mike’s December 2003 Newsletter article:

Sherlock Holmesiana

January 8 [2004] is the opening night of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the Guild’s second show of the season. Most everyone has heard of “Sherlock Holmes,” possibly the greatest fictional detective of all time. However, how many people know the origin of this wonderful character and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

Here is some background to whet your appetite.

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Will the Real Sherlock Please Stand Up

Sherlock Holmes has always been popular. As is recounted in the play the success of Holmes surprised and sometimes annoyed Conan Doyle as the character eclipsed Doyle’s other writing. Eventually Doyle came to terms with Holmes’ resilience. And since his inception up to today Holmes continues to hold the throne as “the world’s greatest detective.” Many actors have portrayed this legendary figure.

Sherlock TV

Sherlock Holmes is bigger than ever. With the two Robert Downey Jr. movies—and a third one in the works—and two TV series, the BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and the CBS version with Jonny Lee Miller, it’s a great time to be a Sherlockian! Here are a few links to the latest news on the TV series’.

Sherlock Series 3 Trailer (this is the real one this time).

The Curious Case of “Parade”

I saw a great show last night, the very moving and poignant “Parade” by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry. This musical, which is based on a true story of prejudice and miscarriage of justice, presented by StageWorks Toronto and directed by Lorraine Green-Kimsa, is a demonstration of community theatre at its best. The production is tight and professional. And all the performers are vibrant and powerful—there wasn’t a weak performance in the entire large cast. It’s running at the George Ignatieff theatre in downtown Toronto—a great location but a difficult theatre to work with as it has practically no back stage—but this was unnoticeable with the expert set design and construction. I think this was the first time I have seen this space used so well.

What has this got to do with “Sherlock?” Well, some of the excellent production crew on “Parade” are also working on “Reluctant Sherlock.” Both Karen Brown, who is playing Abigail Westhaven, and Paul Harris, our lighting designer, did a wonderful job lighting “Parade.” The ubiquitous Heather Hyslop did props and Dave Widenmaier did set construction. “Reluctant Sherlock” is lucky to have these talented people working on our show!

Get more info on the show at But there are only 6 more performances so don’t wait too long. This is one you don’t want to miss.

Anatomy of a Poster

spiritualismThe poster design started with this photo of Arthur Conan Doyle in the foreground with the ghostly image of a woman’s face behind him. I don’t know the history of this photo but supposedly it was meant to be a genuine photo of a real apparition. And as we find out in the play Doyle was an avowed proponent of Spiritualism (or Spiritism). So I thought this would be an ideal place to start. (Check out this site which tells the story of how Doyle became the world’s most famous spiritualist.)

The idea was to swap out the woman’s face with the face of Sherlock Holmes. I chose the image of my definitive Holmes, Basil Rathbone.

As a designer (and a director) it is easy to latch on to an idea that seems good to you but doesn’t have the same appeal for the people you are trying to reach. As much as the artwork must represent the production it’s still a piece of advertising. And at the end of the day the success of a poster is how effective it is in attracting an audience. The biggest problem for most community theatres is poor marketing.

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