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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: Musical of Musicals

Tuesday night I caught The Musical of Musicals which is playing at the Sound Theatre (part of that Swiss Building where those hideous chiming things happen on the hour in Leicester Square). I understand that at some point the building will be demolished, which will be a victory for decent architecture. Having said all that, the theatre is not a bad space. Even better was this production.

If you like your musical theatre (and hey who doesn't as what's there not to like??) then this show offers the same story about a girl who can't pay the rent, in the five different styles: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Jerry Hermann, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb.

The great thing about the show is even if the in-jokes sail over your head, the songs and the performances were good enough to stand on their own. While the Lloyd Webber segment managed to show how much the composer loves / copies / borrows from other composers, my favourite was the Kander and Ebb segment where everyone spoke in a foreign language and had dirty sex (a la Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman).

Jerry Hermann's parody seemed particularly apt after seeing his show "Mack and Mabel"… Now there's a composer who writes for dopey showgirls in gooey gowns… It reinforced that making your cast look less glamorous by playing their own instruments is probably not a good idea in a Hermann show.

It finishes this week and deserves to have another run…

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