A Sherlock Carol breaks with the traditional version of Sherlock Holmes created by Arthur Conan Doyle while incorporating the Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol where we find Tiny Tim has grown up to become Dr Cratchit (Damian Lynch) who runs a children’s home supported by his benefactor Ebenezer Scrooge (Kammy Darweish).
Sherlock Holmes ( Ben Caplan) is called upon by Dr. Crachit to solve the death/murder of Ebenezer Scrooge whose body has been discovered dead in his favorite chair just before Christmas. After only recently returning to London Holmes is reluctant to help and would rather remain anonymous.
Forget the traditional dear stalker wearing immaculately dressed London Gentry version and think more of the scruffier television version of Elementary made for CBS Television. Caplan’s performance has incorporated Jonny Lee Millers’ mannerisms along with his American/English accent distinctively heard in Elementary. At times I did a double take to be certain it was Caplan still on stage.
The sharp mind and scrutiny of each observation are ever-present. The top hat presented to Sherlock becomes verbally dissected right down to the alcoholic drink consumed by its wearer. This attention to detail will always set Sherlock apart from all the other fictional detectives.
Linda Cho successfully achieves the challenge set to her “to honour the source…and celebrate the new play…” the incredibly bold dresses worn by Rosie Armstong as the Duchess and Gemma Laurie in the role of Emma Wiggins create an air of wealth and elegance each time they entered the stage.
The play picks up the pace after the interval after feeling it dragged slightly toward the end of the first half. Sherlock starts explaining the mystery around Scrooge’s death while joining all the clues together and delivering more humour to the audience.
If you want a break this year from the traditional Christmas Pantomimes then this is a seasonal and entertaining performance to go and watch. Although I wouldn’t suggest it’s suitable for younger audiences.
For further information on A Sherlock Carol and future productions at the Marylebone Theatre please use the link below. It’s certainly an Off West End venue worth visiting just a short walk from Bakerloo Station.
Photo credit Danny Kaan