The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Adapted from the short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
Gilded Balloon Teviot
It’s rather a well known thing that the great fictional detective and super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes perished in a life and death struggle with his arch-nemesis upon the Reichenbach Falls. And while it’s also no great secret that he survived the fateful encounter and returned to have many further adventures, The Mystery of the Empty House, where he returns from apparent death, is not commonly cited among the best known of his stories.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes is a rather close and faithful adaptation of the Empty House, albeit under the moniker of the collection of stories it first appeared in rather than its proper title, a story revolving around the long-suffering Dr Watson (Michael Roy Andrew) taking on a mysterious murder case, only to be confronted by his long-lost friend and led deeper into the mysteries of the Moriarty Syndicate and the strange workings of Sherlock Holmes (Nigel Miles-Thomas) himself.
There’s little to say other than this is a perfectly solid and commendably performed adaptation of the story. Miles-Thomas and Andrew both fit their roles like fresh feet in old comfortable shoes, and while they don’t bring any startlingly subversive or innovative twists to the characters, they keep them lively and real enough to fill out what is a rather “talky” mystery.
The play is hampered a little on the technical side, with some harshly cutting sound effects of whispered voices, which never entirely fit the scenes, and the one moment of real action in the play by necessity occurring off-stage with a cut to black. Still, this is a fine piece of fringe theatre, and the pair could do far worse than to reprise these roles again in a different adventure.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan