A Sherlock Carol

Mark Shanahan
DEM Productions, Fat Goose Productions and Theatre Nerd Productions
Marylebone Theatre, London

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Ben Kaplan as Sherlock Credit: Alex Brenner
Ben Kaplan as Holmes and Rosie Armstrong as Irene Adler Credit: Alex Brenner
Ben Kaplan as Holmes Credit: Alex Brenner
Kammy Darweish as Scrooge Credit: Alex Brenner

A Sherlock Carol seeks to evoke the mood of A Christmas Carol via a Victorian mystery confronting Sherlock Holmes that draws on Conan Doyle’s Christmas story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

The show opens and closes with a Xmas song. Watson recalls, as a young lad, being sent by a changed, generous Scrooge on Christmas Day to get a large turkey for the Cratchits. And of course, a ghostly figure will present visions of the future to one of the characters.

Sherlock Holmes is grumpy and depressed. His arch-criminal opponent “Moriarty is dead”, and since he doesn’t regard other criminals to be worthy of interest, he has lost a sense of purpose in life. Watson worries their friendship is ending.

However, the requests by Dr Cratchit, formerly known as Tiny Tim, to investigate the mysterious death of his benefactor, Scrooge, prompt him into action, and soon he is also on the trail of a precious gem, the Blue Carbuncle, stolen from Irene Adler, a woman Holmes had been attracted to.

There is an affection for the characters, and the play shows Holmes as a compassionate individual who doesn’t want to mar the seasonal cheer by sending anyone to prison.

The show is cheerfully Christmassy but has nothing to say about the world, lacks dramatic tension and gets few laughs. The mysteries of the dead Scrooge and the stolen carbuncle are only connected by taking place at Christmas and being investigated by Holmes. It’s a light costume drama that contains very little drama.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

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