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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: Ghosts

The last play I saw in the Duchess Theatre was about cottaging with Sir John Gielgud, and now I was there watching a play about syphilis. It is enough to make you wonder about what you might pick up from going out to the theatre. Fortunately this time around at the Duchess Theatre the play was Ibsen's Ghosts. Ghosts tells the story of a woman whose husband was a bit of a dirty man and died early, and how she has to deal with her son going the same way thanks to congenital syphilis. Meanwhile to put all this behind her she has decided to open an orphanage on her property.

That all seems fairly straight forward but I couldn't help but think that this once-scandalous play seemed a bit of a mild affair. The characters seemed as irritated with the weather as the sexual depravity so it was a bit hard to put it all in perspective.

Still it is entertaining enough an evening to watch Lesley Sharp and Iain Glen spar about virtuous and noble lives. And the simple set is lovely to look at. Just don't suggest to go see if with friends who you know are filthy bastards... They might see it as all too depressing. It runs until mid May.

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