Welcome Holmes: How Qld overcame elements to create its own Sherlock magic

Even the double whammy of Covid and floods could not completely stop the world premiere of The Mystery of the Valkyrie from debuting in Brisbane.

Mar 15, 2023, updated Mar 15, 2023

This all-new Sherlock Holmes tale created by Brisbane based producer Alex Woodward, will have its official opening Wednesday at QPAC’s Playhouse Theatre.

After the devastating start to Brisbane’s 2022, with floods causing QPAC’s theatres to close just at the time the show was about to start its first run, this is the first time QPAC had an opening for the show to finally finish what it started.

He and his team have assembled some well known local faces for the cast, with Eugene Gildfedder as Sherlock Holmes, Anthony Gooley as Dr Watson, Bryan Probets as Professor Moriarty and Kimie Tsukakoshi as Irene Adler.

“I know it’s kind of wild, but very exciting. Very exciting. There’s been many a happy tear, many a stressed tear, but ultimately I’m just really excited for it to get to stage,” Woodward said.

“When the floods came, everything was just booked out. But the great thing was there were all these amazing people in town who were just keen to work on projects.

“There’s been like 20 different Queensland actors involved. We’ve had the best actors minds and the best creatives, not only in Queensland, but some of the country who all live here kind of working on the piece. So I feel very, very lucky in that sense.”

Woodward said he greatly enjoyed working with playwright Michael Futcher who wrote the play, to bring a new take on this most adapted character in literary history to life on stage.

“I first fell in love with the character (Sherlock Holmes) through the films, like the films with Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr, and then from there I fell in love with the TV show Cumberbatch, and then I went back and watched the old films,” Woodward said.

“I started reading all the books – and it just was kind of this character that resonates through so many different generations.

“Sherlock Holmes is an inherently exciting and loved story worldwide. I just thought, well, what a great way to put on an exciting new play.

“All the balls just kind of kept lining up, I guess. I got some money together and we did a workshop and then six months later we did another workshop and then all of a sudden we were set up to do the production and it was all happening until it flooded. And then now we’re back again.”

Woodward’s passion is to expand the audience for live theatre, with Mystery of the Valkyrie and his other Woodward Productions shows such as A Very Naughty Christmas, encouraging more people to step out of their theatrical comfort zone.

“Creating stuff that caters not only to our usual arts audience, but to people who aren’t used to stepping inside the room,” he said.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“Because that to me is just a thrilling experience. You’ll be at the bar and you’ll hear someone talking about, oh wow, this has been great. We should do more of this.

“And it’s a great way to bring young and teens into the theatre, giving them something that they already have a bit of a connection to. So yeah, I’m hoping we do have a younger generation fall in love again.”

It’s the culmination of a dream when he started his studies at The Queensland Conservatorium a bit later than his peers.

“Compared to most I fell in love with theatre relatively late at 18 or 19,” he said.

“And so at 25 I went to the Conservatorium and I studied, and I mean I’m very lucky. It was a great, great, great course run by really dedicated, really dedicated kind of faculty.

“It offered me experiences and connections. So it wasn’t just the training, it was also the people you meet. So my first, although I didn’t get specific training on how to put on shows, I met a core group of people that straight after university.

“I started producing here in Queensland because in Melbourne and in Sydney there was a really strong independent theatre community, especially for things like musicals. This is my town, this is my place.

“So that’s what I did first. I started putting on musical shows and then I ended up doing plays as well. And it’s just kind of grown and I had a wonderful experience at the Con. I’m really grateful for it. Because I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if it wasn’t for that.”

Mystery of the Valkyrie continues until March 19 at QPAC’s Playhouse.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy