Wednesday, December 6

Sherlock Holmes – An Online Adventure

Written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo. Directed by Oliver Lansley and James Seager

A classic Sherlock Holmes murder mystery creatively delivered through Zoom.

Many of us have been using Zoom for our work and leisure since the lockdown and now Les Enfants Terribles in collaboration with LIVR have cleverly used the format to deliver an interactive murder mystery event, ideal for small groups.

In the Case of the Hung Parliament, online sleuths have to collaborate with each other to solve the case of the murder of three senior cabinet members, the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor. Unfortunately, it isn’t the present cabinet but a Victorian administration from the days of Sherlock Holmes who has left the jovial Dr Watson (Ralph Bogard) to guide us through the labyrinth of investigations.

The game cleverly combines the Zoom platform with interactive webpages we click through in the ‘chat’ area, so the participants get to examine each of the rooms where the three murders took place. We get to click on items in the rooms which may be evidence (maps, books, newspaper articles, snuff boxes, whisky bottles, silver trays, etc) or they could be the usual red herrings to throw a less astute detective off the trail. We can take notes and photograph the screens with our spy glasses (smart phones).

Dr Watson is the only live character that we encounter and Bogard plays him brilliantly with ‘olde worlde’ charm and ensures that all the participants are able to follow the plot and access the clues.

In break out rooms we can choose to visit the forensic lab (where we examine forensics and order test results) or the records of Scotland Yard and interact with pre-recorded material.

We are given details of five suspects (an anarchist, a campaigning newspaper proprietor, a publisher and a textile factory boss), each of which we get to question in small groups. There are pre-set questions to ask of the costumed characters and the participants compare notes when back in plenary.

We also get a message from Holmes who appears to be ‘face timing’ the group from an outdoor wooded area. He gives us a team talk and tells us that the little things are the most important.

When we had concluded our deliberations, we are required to identify who we think is the killer whilst ensuring we not only identify the murderer but also the method and the motive.

Watson asked each of us to vote in this process and the group agreed on a suspect (almost unanimously) who we subsequently saw being arrested at our behest. Sherlock Holmes reappeared at this point to summarise the clues, evidence and processes before congratulating us on our good work.

This is a lovely way for murder mystery buffs and groups of friends to have a good time, it is intimate, fun and well structured and timed. There are some atmospheric images, music and sound effects, and the experience is suitable for older children (there was an articulate, head-strong little girl in our group who we, naturally, all followed).

Reviewer: Bob Towers

Reviewed: 28th February 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★