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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

A matter of laughs and death: Good Grief

Another week in lockdown passes. The chances of theatres reopening anytime soon still seem remote. And so experiments with the possibilities for theatrical streams continues with Good Grief

Theatre streams have been filmed plays, staged readings or even staged like a zoom meeting. Good Grief plays with the feeling of a staged production. Scene changes and props are moved around on camera and titles pop up on screen to set the scene. 

It opens at the end of a party. It looks like it's been a big night of drinking and going on. But it turns out that it was after a wake. In between sorting out the mess from the party Cat (Sian Clifford) and Adam (Nikesh Patel) stumble around the topic of losing someone they both loved to cancer.

The piece tracks Cat and Adam coming to terms with their loss, their feelings of guilt about leaving things not the way they had hoped. And they're trying to navigate the niceties and expected behaviours following a death in modern Britain. What's the best way to distribute the belongings of someone who has died? Should atheists have funerals in a church? Is pink underwear a sign of moving on?

Clifford and Patel create an intimate and funny portrayal of two people with a past. They're muddling through to find a way forward and move on. With or without shagging each other. There's also an honesty in the writing and performances that draw you into it. And of course, Clifford being of Fleabag fame, gives the piece a jolt of star power.

A piece about Grief and loss, even a funny one, may not be everyone's idea of a good time during a pandemic. But on the other hand, although so many people have died in the past year, it seems abstract. Here death and its impact on those around it is front and centre. 

Written and created by Lorien Haynes and directed by Natalie Abrahami, it is available to stream from 15 February on Original Theatre Online. It’s also worth checking the other productions available to stream on the site as well.

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