“People don’t often think of this, but Sherlock Holmes would have made a terrible roommate,” says playwright Vince Stadon, calling up from his home in England to talk about his favorite literary detective. “I don’t say that just because of his unpleasant personality,” the wry-humored author continues. “Sherlock Holmes, in the Arthur Conan Doyle books, was always conducting forensic experiments in one of his rented rooms. What if Holmes were your roommate, and he was doing awful, smelly things with cadavers in the next room, at Christmas time? It would make it rather hard to feel very festive, I should think.”
Yes it would. Unless, of course, such stuff were fodder for a hilarious, holiday-themed radio play, performed live with all the classic radio show trimmings. Such will be the case as Petaluma Radio Players presents “Holmes for the Holidays,” Dec. 21-24, at Hotel Petaluma. The opening night show will be broadcast live and also live-streamed on the internet (www.kpca.fm) via Petaluma’s KPCA 103.3 FM radio station.
That is just as the stories were meant to be heard.
Stadon is the author of the comedic “The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes,” a spirited collection of radio scripts, in which Holmes and his faithful friend Dr. Watson find themselves in a series of riotous predicaments. Three of Stadon’s scripts – including one taking place at Christmas – will be presented as part of the show. In the presentation, Holmes will be played by Iain Morris and Dr. Watson will be played by Paul Reffell, with members of the company playing various other characters, villains and victims.
“This was all a bit of a surprise to me,” confesses Stadon, who’d never heard of Petaluma before receiving a query from the local troupe, asking for permission to use some of his radio plays in their big annual holiday show. “Evidently, they’d bought a copy of my collective scripts,” he explains. “Then they decided they wanted to do some of them in a live performance. I think it’s wonderful. I have to say, this is the best news coming out of American in quite some time.”
Stadon, who writes and produces sitcoms in the United Kingdom, and co-hosts a popular podcast called “Vince and Jeremy’s Overrated Podcast,” published his first collection of Holmes scripts five years ago. They’ve been produced a number of times, but always in the UK.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been done in California before,” he says.
Asked about his motivation for putting Holmes in a series of comedies, Stadon says that there is already plenty of accidental comedy in the original stories.
“Arthur Conan Doyle was really very sloppy with his storytelling, and the details are not quite consistent,” he says, mentioning that Watson is supposedly shot in one story, then in another he says it was his leg. Characters are married in one story and not married in another.
Then there is the surprising amount of attention given to Watson’s mustache.
“Watson has a wonderful mustache, evidently, and I thought all of this stuff was good to have a lot of fun with,” Stadon says. “Not in a cruel way or a nasty, sneering way, but a playful, affectionate, polite way.”
Such literary tomfoolery would not offend Doyle at all, Stadon believes.
HOLMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
What: A performance of radio plays by Vince Stadon, presented by Petaluma Radio Players.
When: Friday, Dec. 21 – Saturday, Dec. 24, 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m.
Where: Hotel Petaluma, 205 Kentucky St.
How much: $28. Tickets available at PetalumaRadioPlayers.com
Other ways to hear the show: Listen live on Friday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m. on KPCA 103.3 FM or at KPCA.FM.