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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: One Man, Two Guvnors, New Cast!

The hit National Theatre play One Man, Two Guvnors has had a cast change and moved theatres on the West End. Is it still as funny? I have no idea about that as I must have been one of the few people who until this week had not seen the previous cast with James Corden. They are off to take this show to Broadway, and this show must be one of the funniest things you could see on the West End right now. If it were funnier previously it would have definitely needed to come with a health warning...

Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, the action is updated from the renaissance to 1960s Brighton with songs by Grant Olding. The update works well with the mad plot and storyline and the costumes and set look great. The music and performance by the resident band "The Craze" gives things and added touch of class.

Keeping the insanity together is former understudy to James Corden, Owain Arthur, as Francis Henshaw. He manages to make the part his own. Sitting in spitting distance to the stage (his spit not mine), you could see how bloody hard he was working for the laughs. And it always helps when the audience members he calls on for the moments of audience participation (or should that be audience lubrication since it does get everyone in the right sort of mood?) give him plenty of material to work with. His rave reviews have not gone unnoticed in his homeland, but one also suspects a new star is in the making as well...

This show has all the elements of a great farce and there are some wonderful moments of physical comedy that will have you in tears of laughter. If you want to analyse it all, there is a chat this weekend with Tony Robinson to do that, otherwise strap yourself in and go for the ride.

And gentlemen... Not that I want to give anything away... But if a gorgeous, hot, single babe sits next to you and starts chatting you up... All may not be what it seems. Which is just as well if you have your own date on your other side.

Don't miss it, or perhaps see it again to catch all the lines you were too busy laughing over to hear...
One Man Two Guvnors is playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Day seats available from 10am and there is a tour scheduled for later in the year.

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