The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes

Leslie Bricusse
Morphic Graffiti
Hoxton Hall

The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is dead! Or is he?

After witnessing (through puppetry) the dramatic scene at the Reichenbach Falls in which Moriarty and Holmes plunge to their death, the audience is left to mourn with the people of London. However, ever a genius of disguise, Holmes re-appears at Baker Street but, without a worthy adversary, decides that retirement is his best option. One day, however, a unique set of clues and the appearance of the beautiful Bella Spellgrove force him to change his mind.

This 1980s musical is not often revived and old reviews suggest that this is largely because of the conflicting tone. The score uses generous dollops of comedy but also flits to the more serious, creating difficulties for the cast and particularly the actor playing Holmes.

This version however has been lovingly re-modelled as a piece of music hall entertainment and is being performed in the beautifully-restored Hoxton Hall. With a high stage, red velvet curtains, visible band and even a tiny bit of audience interaction, the stage is quite literally set for an evening of self-aware theatrical hijinks.

The hugely talented cast are all utilized extremely well and are clearly all strong triple threat performers (who also dabble in magic). Whilst the characterisation is flamboyant, they all manage to stay the right side of the line and don’t stray into embarrassing parody. This is aided hugely by the beautiful period costumes (and excellent wigs) that feed into the seriously well-considered concept.

The inventive choreography also makes use of every inch of the stage and, whilst it is both finely tuned and synchronized, it also somehow manages to capture some of the rawness associated with music hall performances. It is hard not to get caught up in the score when the whole cast are jumping up and down literally inches from your face.

A large part of this Victoriana homage is the deliberately homespun set that changes for almost every scene. The attention to detail adds to the whole tongue-in-cheek world and the ingenuity of its creators can’t be underestimated.

Morphic Graffiti has merged the music hall concept so well with this existing show that it is difficult to envisage it being staged in any other way. Whilst not all of the songs are memorable and some are completely unnecessary, in this format with such enthusiastic players it really doesn’t matter.

For a fantastic evening of uplifting entertainment grab your deerstalker and head to Hoxton.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston