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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: 365

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from seeing 365. It played at the Edinburgh Festival to some very positive reviews, but a two hour play about children in care taking their first steps to independence seemed like an unusual way to spend a Saturday evening at the theatre. Since it was based in Scotland I dragged fellow chorister Stephen to see it since he was from Glasgow and I figured he could help with the translation (well of the accents anyway). I was hoping I would get away with nudging him and asking from time to time "Wha-did-he-say? Wha-did-he-say??" This sort of worked...

The play unfolds telling the stories of a group of children who pass through a "practice flat" as they gain their first steps to living independently and... adulthood. There is much scope for dream-like sequences, music and movement and these appear throughout and help make what could be a depressing subject a little more insightful and dare I say it... Even entertaining.

While at nearly two hours it felt a little long, overall the play was curiously enjoyable if quirky at times. I wasn't always engaged by the large cast of characters and it wasn't just because of their accents, but perhaps a deliberate attempt at realism. I could live with this, but even in this fractured state I couldn't help but think some of the stories within the play felt like they could have taken more time to unfold, while others could have done with a trim. It runs until the end of next week at the Lyric Hammersmith, a cultural oasis in the motorway wasteland otherwise known as Hammersmith. Well at least the pizza at the theatre wasn't too bad, but after the show Stephen and I couldn't get out of there fast enough to get a drink in a decent part of town. Well after all this realism we needed a drink so we settled for Soho. After an evening's entertainment about children in care being offered stolen dildos, and charlie hardly seemed like a big deal...

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