Hilarious Take On Conan Doyle Hero 'Sherlock Holmes'
Penny Flood finds that clues and shocks abound in this clever new play at the Tabard
This is Sherlock Holmes but not as Conan Doyle wrote it. It’s a glorious send up of the pompous Victorian detective; it’s sharp, witty, and very funny with plenty of intrigue to keep you guessing with a dramatic and slightly shocking twist. It's written by Greg Freeman whose weird and slightly off the wall works have been very well received at the Tabard. I confess to being a fan after seeing his other plays No Picnic and Dogstar.
To be fair, it gets off to a bit of a slow start, but once it gets into its stride it cracks along.
In this story, Sherlock Holmes (Alex Mann) and Dr Watson (Richard Fish) have been summoned to Kent to help solve the mystery of the body in the lake which has stumped the local plod, Inspector Peacock (Dan MacLane). Poor Peacock, with his ill-fitting hat and suit, is obviously not of the class of person that Holmes and Watson would normally associate with, but that's not why they won't shake hands with him. He's stumped because the only witness, the lovely Lucy Grendle (Saria Steel), says she saw the man pushed into the lake by a pair of invisible hands. Unfortunately , Lucy lives life in a vodka-induced haze, so can she be believed?
And there you have it. The three men blunder around, Holmes struts and deduces things, the sweet Watson argues with him while trying to help Lucy overcome her vodka dependency, Peacock adds his two penn'orth when he can get a word in sideways, and Lucy, gagging for a drink, wilts gracefully. All this is entwined with discussions on sexually transmitted diseases, origami and dancing bears, together with a running gag about a card game in the Savoy where Lucy beat Holmes, he says she cheated. Another mystery that gets solved at the end. While all this is going on, the invisible thing begins to make its presence known with hilarious, almost slapstick consequences. Meanwhile, Lucy's maid Mrs Rochester (Faith Edwards), sullen and monosyllabic, drifts in and out with tea and whisky. She's the quiet one and those are the ones you've got to watch.
And so, in ways that even Einstein couldn't have explained, Holmes solves the plot, works out whodunnit and, in a very surprising and very funny move, Lucy settles the argument over the card game. Terrific stuff!
Sherlock Holmes and The Invisible Thing runs from 7 June – 16 July
Tickets are priced £17 - £15. Group tickets are £12 per ticket for groups of 8 or more.
June 14, 2016