The Game’s Afoot! is an original Sherlock Holmes musical inspired by the legendary characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was conceived as a full-scale production designed for presentation in medium to large theatres. There are 11 principal roles (which may be played by 9 artists) and, ideally, a chorus of about 16). It can, of course, be staged on a much smaller scale for a more intimate production.
Set in Victorian England in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we find Holmes and his colleague, Dr. Watson, investigating the disappearance of a US diplomat in London at the request of Susannah Hart, a visiting American actress and close friend of his, who is currently appearing at the Gaiety Theatre in London.
The plot thickens with the arrival of Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. He is seeking advice. An unidentified body has been pulled from the Thames – the only clue a strange coin found on the corpse. Can Holmes identify it? Indeed he can – and he goes further. A trip to the mortuary convinces him that the body is indeed the missing American. But then Lestrade informs him that as far as the police are concerned the case is closed – due to “diplomatic pressures”.
However, for Holmes and Watson, the game is now afoot. They set off on a trail that takes them first to The Perfumed Garden, an exotic Soho restaurant with an unsavory reputation – which it certainly lives up to when a waiter is shot to death in front of their eyes. Then to the exclusive Diogenes Club in Pall Mall and on to the stage at the Gaiety Theatre where an innocent actor, mistaken for Holmes, is dramatically killed. As the Great Detective becomes more deeply involved with his beautiful client, he uncovers a conspiracy of silence … no one, not even Susannah, is telling him the whole truth.
With the help of his devoted band of street urchins, ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ and their young leader, Wiggins – an irrepressible cockney kid, Holmes traces a key figure in the killings – a hired Belgian assassin. Then, thanks to information from his brother, Mycroft, Holmes uncovers a diabolical plot involving Josef Marbenkian, the international arms dealer known as the ‘Merchant of Death’.
A summons to the American Embassy in Mayfair confirms Holmes’s suspicions, when the Ambassador reveals that the missing diplomat was engaged in dealings with Marbenkian. But the Ambassador will take no further action. He is certain the young diplomat’s death was an unfortunate accident, and Susannah agrees. Now she knows the truth, she is satisfied.
But Holmes is not. He sets out with Watson on a journey to Marbenkian’s remote country house in Cornwall. Breaking into this forbidding, gothic mansion, they discover Marbenkian’s two secrets – a fully equipped laboratory capable of producing the ultimate weapon of destruction – and also his true identity. Not only is Holmes’s life at stake, but the very future of Britain itself.
In this crisis, the great detective’s skills do not fail him … and, in the final confrontation, he outwits the villain, dispatching him to a spectacular death. The country is saved … Queen Victoria is truly grateful … and the story ends as London celebrates Her Majesty’s Jubilee.
The score features 16 original musical numbers, totally integrated into the production and in many different moods. They have nearly all been recorded as part of a demonstration disc we produced, which includes narration and some of the actual dialogue. There is also a shortened version of this, featuring 9 of the songs, linked together by narration from Donald & June. Copies of these and a full script of book & lyrics can be made available to people who are seriously interested in the show.
This is the novel on which the musical is based, and it’s available from Amazon.com and many other on-line book stores. An audio version of this, read by the authors, will be available soon at our website store.