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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: An Inspector Calls

It's January so it is Get Into London Theatre time... Which is a great way to see a play for a bargain that you might have been ambivalent about seeing previously. One such play I was ambivalent about was the revival of An Inspector Calls, directed by Stephen Daldry. Having now seen it, I still remain ambivalent. Sure I understand how important it must have felt when this production first came on the scene in 1992. Thatcherism was a very recent memory and was a critique of her legacy as much. However eighteen years on, times have certainly changed... And the play feels overproduced and overstaged. And (on the night I saw it...) over-acted...

There is nothing subtle about the JB Priestly's text, which is fine from a historical point of view, but this production decides to ram things home in big large letters, and a tiny little house... And if you aren't being deafened by the nightmare sequence score from Vertigo, you find yourself being moistened by the mist from the rain machine... For a drawing room drama, it all seems like overkill... Still it has proved popular and with Get Into London Theatre prices, it's cheap enough to enjoy being ambivalent. The play runs until March and GILT has been extended now until then too...

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