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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

Dire sheep: Big Brother Blitzkrieg @KingsHeadThtr

It seems like a great concept: after many rejections from Vienna's art school and a botched suicide attempt, Hitler wakes up in the Big Brother House.

But what could pass for a five minute sketch is dragged out for an excruciating seventy minutes with few laughs.

Satire I thought was meant to be funny. At least it is in Chaplin's The Great Dictator and pretty much anything from Mel Brooks. Instead we have an earnest and unconvincing argument that we all get swept away by charisma in the end.

If the intention is to explore what does reality television do for politicians the answer from this seems to be not a lot. The programme notes Donald Trump is using reality television fame to run for President. But he is also spending a lot of his own personal fortune on doing that (and the jury is still out on how well that is going for him).

The big brother household assembled seems a bit odd as well. They look too old to be contestants. And if they are meant to spoofs of media personalities it is too unclear to be be funny. Besides, given the average age of any Big Brother winner is 25, I would have thought Hitler had no chance...

Big Brother Blitzkrieg runs at the Kings Head Theatre until 30 January.


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