Sherlock Holmes meets Scrooge in a spoof take on, a classic Dickens novel; A Christmas Carol. The staging was set and to some degree in keeping with Victorian London with Sherlock played by Ben Caplin (from Call the Midwife) whom did a Stirling job of characterising Holmes as we have grown to know him whilst emulating the essence of Ebenezer Scrooge. Misery of a character forced to see his life, past present and future through the eyes of the ghosts. However in this play Scrooge himself played by Kammy Darweish provides the reflections for Holmes as the ghost Scrooge through visitations. Showing Holmes the error of his ways and experiences of what will happen if he refuses to change, a role reversal, in the true sense.
The play is intertwined with the meeting of many ghosts and Holmes reluctance and lack of desire to solve crimes. He is done, with crime solving and has had enough. The plot line is the unexplained death of Scrooge, a missing will, and Carbuncle concealed within a Goose.
This mixture of fusion is performed very well even though the cast is small the switching from character to character occurred seamlessly with style and fineness and did not deflect from the true detail of the story. In fact this was pleasurable to see, as they imparted their humour, drama into the play, whilst portraying classic Dickens and Conan Doyle styles. Stage sets are moved by the actors, and it gives a slight amateur feel but not enough to undervalue the true performance of all the cast. It was professional and slick, no amateur lines here. The narrative is engaging and the only observation is that the production, lighting, sound and scenery could have been a little more inventive, elaborate and dramatic and this would have added more depth to what is an excellent play. The scene of London featuring the gas lamps was exquisite and created by Anna Louizo.
Holmes like Scrooge eventually finds solace in Christmas and the time of giving, celebration and friendships. This is a detective story within a Christmas Carol with the spirit of Christmas inclusive of the special moments of friendship and love between Watson (Richard James) and Holmes, Irene Adler (Rosie Armstrong) the strong sassy women, Sherlock’s beau.
The play is captivating, engaging and forges ahead through the essence of Christmas glee, what is there not to like; Sherlock and Scrooge, both classics in their own right, in one space in time, one play with carol singing and a festive feel. The audience showed their appreciation as the actors showed theirs, in their personal joy of performance.
Written and directed by Mark Shanahan showing until 7th January 2024 and plays for 2hrs with 15 minutes interval, https://www.marylebonetheatre.com/
Reviewer: Michelle Knight
Reviewed: 1st December 2023
North West End UK Rating: