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Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon
Moving from NW6 to WC1

Today I finalised getting a new place in Bloomsbury. Hello Central London. Farewell West Hampstead. Its a downsize but a sensible location. Rather than pack of course spent way too much time wandering around West Hampstead, which seemed a little daft given the light sleet/snow that was falling from time to time.

Theatre: Talk to the hand/ass/stigmata

Jerry Springer outing last night wasn't bad, although some of the principals were not performing and it showed a little (lacking a bit of style alas). I sat next to a man from New York (who was in London for a week and had seen at least a show a night - although he was a theatre teacher/director) who enjoyed it a lot and couldn't believe what he was hearing (or seeing)...

Unlike a Jerry Springer show, the characters in the Opera are quite likeable which gives the show its charm amongst all the profanities. The morality of it all is still a bit ambiguous. Is it a critique of modern TV - the celebrity culture where people will do anything to get attention - or is it reveling in the swill of it all? It leans towards the former, but it also celebrates the latter, which is definitely an explanation as to why it gets up people's noses.

Outside the theatre there was also a group of little old ladies and little old men handing out pamphlets from the Christian Voice. This organisation is an anti-gay, anti-established Church (it's too liberal apparently) and generally bemoaning the debauchery and sin of Britain... Well compared to Australians the British are a saucy bunch so maybe they should all emigrate if they weren't so preoccupied with wanting to save Britain...

Anyway the leaflet makes a few arguments about the blasphemy and depravity of the show (particularly in the second act), but omits the fact that the second act set in hell is taking place inside the head of Jerry Springer as he falls unconscious after getting shot.

It is Jerry's version of Christianity that is unfolding and I get the feeling it is meant to be deeply offensive yet funny at the same time. In a way the audience is laughing at the extreme liberalism of it all. Of course it still all comes down to interpretation so no doubt there will be pickets outside whatever theatres it plays when it goes on its national tour. No doubt a little controversy will help the ticket sales, as it isn't the most commercial show to tour...

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