|Insightful. Dramatic. Involving. Intense.|
Gabriella La Rocca Reviews Sherlock Holmes - The Last Act at The Tabard Theatre
Insightful. Dramatic. Involving. Intense. That’s the play.
Outstanding is the performance of Roger Llewellyn as he skilfully drops in and out of the main characters and the best crime scenes that have shaped Sherlock Holmes.
Doctor Watson, ‘his conductor’ as he calls him, has passed away and things are not the same anymore, ‘the game cannot be longer afoot’ says a devastated Holmes, and sets aside, for once, his notorious skills of deduction and observation while his demons and flaws come forward.
It’s 1914, he’s retired in Sussex and visits 221B Baker Street the day of his best friend’s funeral; recalling the good times solving cases together and still accusing Watson of reducing his cases and ‘recherché’ into tales, instead of being material for university study. And he is just as rude even when he is mourning. If you are new to the character of Sherlock Holmes the play written by David Stuart Davies captures his true spirit, if you are not, it tells you something new.
His childhood with an abusive father and his idle brother are informative but it is Holmes’s shortcomings that make the play. There is a sad vein throughout and this is where the actor delivers: he is immersed in Holmes’s pain, the loss being just a trigger, and magnifies the motives and the skeletons which Holmes, as he told Watson once, are well locked up, never to come out.
Mental stimulation is Holmes’s driving force. He solves cases that the police cannot but when his extraordinary abilities are not in use he turns to chemical substances and changes into a cantankerous and despicable character. What about the rest of the man? Women? He confirms he is soulless and that he detests passion because it interferes with his thinking machine.
It’s the second time Sherlock Holmes visits the Tabard, last year’s play written also by Stuart Davies concentrated on his creator’s , Arthur Conan Doyle, unsuccessful attempt to rid himself of his arrogant character. It was performed always by Llewellyn but the actor’s performance this time supersedes last year’s; this demanding role puts his talent to the test. A bit of a slow start perhaps but he grips the audience especially in the second half.
Gabriella La Rocca