“Oh, Miss, I am dead. The two men…they have killed-“
An impossible murder in the fog on Waterloo Bridge. So, begins The Mask of Moriarty. a full length play by Hugh Leonard. This Sherlock Holmes spoof is an original work by Leonard based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle.
In the Mask of Moriarty, Hugh Leonard brings together Holmes, Watson, Inspector Lestrade and of course Moriarty. There are multiple references to other literary figures from the period with references to Bunny Manders from E W Hornung’s Raffles stories, Dorian Gray, and (with a lapse of time) Jekyll and Hyde. While the play is a comedy, there is a genuine whodunit to solve and the mystery content is substantial.
The play was commissioned by the Gate Theatre in Dublin where it premiered in 1985 with Tom Baker in the role of Sherlock Holmes and Alan Stanford as Doctor Watson. It was subsequently staged in Britain with Geoffrey Palmer as Holmes and James Grout as Watson, and at the Williamstown Theatre festival with Paxton Whitehead as Holmes. Tom Baker and Alan Stanford in the Mask of Moriarty, Gate Theatre, 1985.
PICT (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre) presented the Mask of Moriarty in 2011. The play has been translated into and performed in Finnish at the Sipoo Theatre.
The Mask of Moriarty was founded in a genuine affection for, and knowledge of the work of Conan Doyle: Leonard had previously adapted The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Study in Scarlet for the BBC in 1968.