From Benedict Cumberbatch on the TV to Robert Downey Jr on the big screen, Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Victorian novels Sherlock Holmes have been brought back so many times, and in so many different formats, that it’s always intriguing to see if anyone can breathe new life into these old tales. By mixing in their own musical twist, Music Theatre Warwick have succeeded in adding a new, quirky Fringe adventure to Sherlock and Watson’s ever growing list, giving us a wittily original interpretation.
A crazy mess of endless puns, silly characters and spontaneous bursts of songs
Playing on the twist that Watson is the real genius behind the countless crimes the pair have solved, Sherlock merely being a frontman (by the name of Richard Brooks) that Watson has hired to hide his expertise, Watson has now become tired of all the fame and glory that his colleague is revelling in. Petty with jealousy, Watson reveals that he is publishing a new book that delves into the true story behind their success. The story followed one battle between the pair and their infamous enemy, Moriarty, who, when he takes Watson out of the scene, leaves Sherlock (or in reality Brooks) to pick up the slack he has left behind.
The musical has brought an original and highly comical twist to each of these beloved characters. From a Sherlock with an inflated ego to a Mad Hatter style eccentricity within Moriarty, the writer and director Robin Kendall has managed to make this portrayal as overdramatic as possible. The cast continuously break out into enthusiastic, slapstick routines of song and dance, with all of them giving exceptional vocal performances and staying perfectly in character throughout their routines. Even the piano player, adding the perfect musical backing throughout the show, gets his own part. The carefree style can easily veer into a lack of polish, but the show is always enjoyable nonetheless.
The farcical comedy that dominates this show doesn’t just stick to the stage either. Often the audience are encouraged to interact in an almost pantomime style dialogue, booing for the evil guys and cheering along with the countless puns that Kendall has managed to squeeze in. This breaking of the fourth wall just adds to the quirky, ridiculous comedy that makes this show.
A crazy mess of endless puns, silly characters and spontaneous bursts of songs, the show is a far more light-hearted and well-meaning interpretation of Sherlock’s adventures than the others we’ve seen in more recent times, but it’s definitely worth the laughs it provides.