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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 a clear day: The View From the Shard


The View from The Shard opens on Friday and having caught a preview of it earlier in the month, it is worth a look... Even if it is a snowy day... And visibility is poor... There is still a gee whiz excitement about looking down from the London landmark. There is something light and delicate about The Shard that makes it intriguing and not just another tall building.

The journey starts with a slightly eccentric tour of London and its people before you are shuffled into one of two lifts to take you to the thirty-third floor. You are told that it will take you at speeds of six metres a second but unlike other tall buildings in London, it is not a glass lift so there is no horror or nausea from shooting up. Perhaps it is the low lighting and video screens of soothing autumnal leaves and snow that does it, but you do not feel a thing.

You then have to take another lift to the top which again has soothing music and video screens which takes you to the top. There are a few more stairs to take before you then see all of South London, The City, Canary Wharf and beyond. Well, if the weather is good. There are view screens so you can see what you could see if the weather was clear, or if it were a more interesting time of day (such as sunset or night). It is all very fascinating and even if you can't see much you will be distracted by looking at the building itself and how the glass windows fit together to create the jagged shard-like structure. There is also an upper viewing deck that is open to the elements.

Of course there is no bar or cafe up top so you probably will find that half an hour is enough before heading down and making your way to Borough Market for a sensible coffee... And some hot meat in a bun or something warm... It's a bit chilly up there.

The View from The Shard is open to the public from 1 February and tickets are available from their website... It isn't the cheapest ride up an elevator, but one with such a lure enough people are going to part money to do it anyway...

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