Holmes Fest – a celebration of the life and times of Arthur Conan Doyle’s life in Portsmouth and his greatest creation, Sherlock Holmes is back after a six year absence.
As part of Portsmouth’s Bookfest, Holmes Fest draws together Portsmouth writers, actors, musicians and artists in a night of fun entertainment. And there will even be an appearance by Mark Wingett, star of ITV’s The Bill in which he played modern detective Jim Carver.
Matt Wingett, Mark’s brother and the show’s organiser and compere, says: “Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes while he lived as a doctor in Portsmouth’s seaside resort of Southsea as a young man between 1882 and 1890. It’s true to say it all happened for him in Portsmouth. He arrived with just £10 in his pocket and left eight years later having created the world’s most famous detective, written several other novels, married and with his first daughter, Mary Louise. From being an obscure GP in a seaside town, he was on the verge of international fame and riches.”
Holmes Fest will recreate some of the Victorian music hall feel – but with a focus on Sherlock Holmes’s creator. And for those who want to join in the fun more by dressing for the occasion – there will be a special prize for the Best Dressed Victorian!
Local acts will perform original works, all in some way connected to Conan Doyle’s life and writing. We will meet a disgruntled Mrs Hudson played by local author Christine Lawrence, rap poet Jackson Davies performing a piece about Conan Doyle’s life in Southsea, a comedy radio play by The BBC Holmes Service (Nick Downes, David Penrose, Vin Adams), melodrama based on true events around a duel in the town performed by the Gosport Steampunk Society (Stuart Markham et al), the Holmes Fest anthem performed by musicians Hudson and LeStrade (Matt Parsons and Janet Ayers) and actors Jonathan Fost and Mark Wingett joining in the fun.
And who knows? – There may also be an appearance by Sherlock Holmes himself!
Books about Arthur Conan Doyle’s life in Portsmouth will be avaiable on the night, as well as a stall run by Portsmouth City Council’s archivist Mike Gunton, who will be free to talk about the massive Conan Doyle Archive owned by the council. There will also be Conan Doyle-related works of art for sale – including dinosaur eggs inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World.
Drinks and nibbles will also be availbe from the bar.
“It’s going to be great fun,” says Matt Wingett. “We’d love to see you there!”