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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
Theatre: Aristocrats

Life does go on. On Friday evening I caught the Brian Friel play Aristocrats at the National Theatre which turned out to be an interesting evening of Theatre. Friel wrote this play in 1979 and it tells the tale of a rich land-owning Irish Catholic family that gathers for a wedding and secrets begin to unravel. There is a hint of Chekhov to the goings on as well.

But the first two acts I found heavy going. A lot of exposition (and Irish history to absorb). And after observing a minutes silence for those killed in the bombings prior to the first act commencing, I found it all too hard to focus on the intricate story. But somehow after the interval it just felt like the story all came together, and I don't think it was the interval drinks that did it. It was just the story then began to move.

The most enjoyable part of it was actor Andrew Scott. He played the twit son who perhaps was not so stupid as everyone believed him to be... The rest of the cast were just as good (and included a couple of well regarded Irish actors) but I particularly took a liking to this character. All told it became a very enjoyable evening - once one got past all the exposition.

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