Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night

When my mother was in labor with me she was watching the PBS Jeremy Brett version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the hospital and I narrowly missed out on being named after the titular detective, which, if you ask me, is a damn shame. Needless to say, this little factoid, combined with my father’s copy of The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and a well-timed episode of Wishbone set me up nicely for what has proven to be a mild but lifelong obsession.

I originally conceived of a gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes out of necessity, having no male artists handy who I thought could carry the role and a surfeit of extremely talented female artists. As I dug into the concept, I realized that swapping the genders of the residents of 221B Baker St. afforded me massive freedom, and the ability to use the well-worn framework of a Sherlock Holmes story to say something real about ‘women’s work.’

Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night is a hybrid work of traditional theater and contemporary circus. In this original story, featuring a predominantly female cast—including the residents of 221B—Sherlock and Watson unravel the mystery of six, missing, young women and their connection with an enigmatic, star-gazing cult.

Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night explores themes of feminism and femininity, police bureaucracy, and the responsibility of power through the physicality of circus performance and features Spanish web, Chinese pole, cloud swing, aerial silks, lyra, contortion, hand balancing, diabolo, and hoop diving.

Sherlock Holmes and the Sapphire Night debuted in New Haven, CT in 2017.

Photos by Chris Randall