Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Paul T. Nolan
Anthology: The Big Book of Christmas Plays
Publisher: Plays, Inc.
Estimated Runtime: 30 minutes
Number of Characters: 6
Cast Requirements: 6 male
Time Period: 1880s
Production Requirements: One period set location and period costuming and props.
The game is afoot in this adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. When a large hat and Christmas goose are discovered without an owner, Sherlock Holmes takes the challenge to return them. Using his powers of deduction, he discovers clues about the man purely from inspection of his hat. The goose, meanwhile, has been taken by the police commissioner to eat before it goes bad. The commissioner returns soon after to announce that a large blue diamond was found in the goose’s crop. Holmes lures the original owner of the bird, the butcher who sold the bird, and the criminal to his apartment. Using his well-known tricks for coaxing out confessions, Holmes discovers the criminal but, in the spirit of the holiday season, decides to let him escape.
The classic characters of Holmes and Watson are present and strong in this Christmas play that doesn’t have much to do with Christmas, apart from taking place during the season. Older children who are familiar with the characters and stories will enjoy watching the mystery unfold. Younger children and those who are unfamiliar with Sherlock Holmes will likely be less interested and confused, as characters are mentioned but are sometimes never seen or don’t appear until the end. The play is set entirely in Holmes’ apartment with characters coming in and out. This is likely done to simplify set needs, but results in a static, uninteresting plot, lacking the excitement and action scenes usual in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The play would be suitable for a theater company that wants to produce a quick and easy holiday show for older young audiences.