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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

On the radio: Radio Times The Musical

The Radio Times The Musical is in Richmond this week and it is a funny and entertaining enough show. It is set during the Blitz in London as a BBC light entertainment show prepare to undertake a special broadcast that will be heard in America. It is an opportunity to breathe life back into composer Noel Gay's music, who also wrote the songs for the show Me and My Girl. With Gay's songs, a story evolves full of bad jokes, gags and silliness as the star of the show Sammy Shaw, tries to hang on to his leading lady, a new producer fights with the writers for a show that isn't full of smutty innuendo and the need for a show to go out that will lift morale.

This production originated at the Watermill Theatre and follows their usual style where the performers act, dance and play the music. In a show with such brassy and lively numbers it looks great as the cast integrate dancing, music-making and performing so effortlessly. The effect gives things a real buzz. Gary Wilmot in the lead as Sammy manages to get away with the hoariest of jokes and still get laughs from the audience... It could be also that Richmond Theatre audiences are easy, but he gets away with it anyway. Sara Crowe, who replaces Anna Jayne Casey who played the leading lady earlier in the run productions did not appear to be as at ease in her role as the girlfriend waiting to get married. The role does primarily involve being serious while silliness abounds, but it is a key role and balance between the comedy and drama felt alternatively jarring or dragging at times.

There are enough songs and enough material to potentially fill two shows here but the production is slick and it looks great too. It is a musical that is going to give you two hours of laughs and you may even feel compelled to treat it as a singalong if you know the music... Of course the songs were written before the Second World War so that may give away your age... It runs until the end of this week and the remaining tour dates are on the website.

The views of the ageing (and Johnyfoxlondon) follow on the Audioboo...

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