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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: Rock and Roll

Finally caught Tom Stoppard's play Rock 'N' Roll before it closes at the end of this month. It has been playing since last summer and has caught the imagination of the critics and the punters. The background of the story is the velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the links a family in Cambridge have to the country. The central message is that there is no freedom without creative freedom and that's something that I could agree with. There is a wonderful scene where an old British communist after the collapse of the old regimes in 1990 smashes a plate. Was it all just a waste of time? Or do the new democracies appreciate what they have more than those in the west? Who can say but plenty of food for thought...

The original cast have moved on but even with the second cast headed by Dominic West (who is terrific) kept the pace going, even when it was a bit on the long side. I get the impression that even though the play finishes its run in February, it's going to be around for some time...

Walking out of the theatre afterwards, there were plenty of people wondering what it was all about they had seen, not to mention where they were when they first heard the many music clips peppered throughout the production...

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