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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

Movies: 127 Hours

I caught the movie 127 Hours over the weekend. Directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco, the film is the real-life story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder in Robbers Roost, Utah, for more than five days in 2003. Those familiar with the story know how he escapes but up to that point the movie is a great example of what not to do when messing about with nature. His escape had many people covering their eyes to avoid watching the movie at that point. I was later told that I was the only male doing this in the cinema, but I will insist that I was not. It was pretty gruesome and graphic and I could understand why those more sensitive movie-goers in Norwich might require medical attention...

Franco keeps this an intense but very entertaining movie throughout and you're with him all the way. While he isn't as sexy in this film as he is selling Gucci fragrances, there is something very likeable about the character he has created here. This role has to be one of those dream roles actors always wish to play, and Franco delivers.

The film leaves you wondering whether you have seen an extended commercial for an electrolyte drink or a documentary. Danny Boyle takes everything minute and blows it up on the big screen. Sometimes you will be covering your eyes (or dry retching), but most other times you will be fascinated at the detail. And if you are watching the above trailer and going to see the film (and not read the book), I recommend watching only the first two minutes...

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