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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

Life in London: When Theatre Goes Bad

On Friday evening I saw an awful piece of theatre in Kentish Town. It was at a theatre pub where the patrons of this boozer seemed to be street drinkers and addicts of various sorts. It was a pity they weren't in the play themselves as it would have given the play a little character. From time to time there were flashes of something that made it watchable, but for the most part I sat there wondering how many flats could be made from this upstairs space and whether it was productions like this that caused the death of theatre pubs across London.

It isn't necessary to know the name of the production as it has finished, but a friend of a friend of friend was in the production. So at the end of the show the inevitible discussion and dilemma about what to say we thought of the show ensued. In the end we all settled for lying through our teeth and saying what a challenging and thought-provoking show it was. Well, actors can be so sensitive, and usually (as in this case) the director was primarily responsible for this shambles...

It was funny as a week earlier after seeing a production of Turandot at the Royal Opera the audience let it be known what they thought of the leads by reserving the largest applause for a supporting part of Liu the slave girl. Alas that was easier as with such a larger audience it was easier to be anonymous. So here's to those euphamisms for crap shows - interesting, challenging, and thought provoking. I intend to use them throughout the year for shows that aren't quite as memorable as August: Osage Country...

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