Sherlock Holmes meets a theatrical farce in this intelligently written double act that sparkles like the Blue Carbuncle.
An intelligent two-hander.
The Farewell Tour introduces us to Holmes and Watson’s last joint adventure before Holmes retires to Sussex. However, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson (the other two performers) and the stagehands have all mysteriously disappeared, along with all the set. Therefore, it is down to Holmes and Watson to take on the roles of a Prime Minister in a pickle and his mistress the vaudeville singer, whilst also keeping an eye out for the long shadow of Moriarty. This is a well-researched piece with quotes from the original stories woven into the script, the Victorian era setting, and plenty of use of ‘the E word’, but it also utilises more modern interpretations of the tales, as the two attempt to dance around the homoerotic undertones and fall flat on their faces. As always, the story is just as much about the relationship between Holmes and Watson as it is the mystery. Throw in some well-choreographed, ridiculous stage fighting, a seduction scene confusing for everyone involved, some excellent lurking and a post-coital handshake, and it becomes an excellent romp of a mystery that will have you laughing along.
The performances of Holmes & Watson are great, taking enough of the original material to make them familiar, but adding a personal flair to each. Holmes, tending to distraction and addiction, ends up saying the wrong thing, and Watson prances around the stage, enjoying the opportunity to perform his favourite Shakespearian roles; the easy rivalry allows the two to fight for the limelight. The script is ingenious, full of zinging dialogue which causes fits of giggles.
The costumes are on point, putting Holmes in his signature deer-stalker and great coat. There is lovely interplay between the technicians and the character of Holmes, as Holmes snaps his fingers for light and sound cues to trigger.
It is a shame the scenes on the floor are difficult to see beyond the front row. This is particularly disappointing as they are the heartfelt ones, which leave the audience fidgeting for the comedy to resume. Holmes is full of smooth faced focus, but this runs the danger of him looking lost and bored in the background of scenes.
I would recommend this show to anyone who is a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories or characters, but also to anyone looking for an intelligent two-hander.