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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

Life among the poppies: Shoot I Didn't Mean That / The Last Days of Mankind @Tristanbates

Is it okay to smile and take a selfie when you visit a memorial or make a nazi salute gesture in Austria? Maybe even write something glib in the visitors book at the Anne Frank museum? If you did not know the answer to these questions, Shoot I Didn't Mean That starts to explores the implications of doing things like this.

Catriona Kerridge's dark comedy looks in to the strange and surreal downfall of four women as they become fascinated and then obsessed by the politics of The Great War.

In an era of conflict tourism and ongoing global crises, Juliet finds herself making an obscene gesture in a Viennese flea market and finds herself in jail. Two schoolgirls get carried away at a Remembrance Day service and an interpreter loses her voice and her mind listening the antiseptic responses from present day politicians. It's funny but thought provoking as well.

Running along side this new work is the harrowing epilogue to The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus. This part of this epic work is an expressionistic and apocalyptic vision of a world. While Kerridge's work is a response to this piece, played together it becomes apparent how distant modern life is from real horrors.

In a year when light shows and ceramic flowers are stylistically commemorating the outbreak of WW1, this serves as a stark reminder that war is always hell.

It runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until 18 October and contains replica weapons, haze and some frightening looking gas masks.


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