Potted Sherlock
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 13th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★

Edinburgh stalwarts Dan and Jeff are back for another energetic hour and, following Potted Potter, Potted Pirates and Potted Panto, it’s the turn of Baker Street’s own Sherlock Holmes.

It might not serve as a primer on Conan Doyle and it may not have the advantage of the Potter captive audience but Potted Sherlock is still a cracking show for kids and grown-ups alike.

To be clear, this is not the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock; there’s only nine of those (curse you BBC) so they wouldn’t be too challenging to summarise. This is all 60 Conan-Doyle stories from the famous Hound of the Baskervilles to The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone and all performed in 70 minutes.

Well, I SAY all performed but actually that’s a bit of a lie. The structure of the show is broadly as you’d expect from previous Dan and Jeff shows but, with such a wealth of material to get through, the level of detail is much less. The main focus is on the four best known Holmes stories; The aforementioned Hound…, The Speckled Band, The Sign of Four and A Study in Scarlet. This is no bad thing as it makes the show all the more accessible for those without a thorough grounding in Sherlock and leaves a great deal more room for the trademark slapstick.

This slapstick is there in full force and developed to such a degree that the duo have had to become a trio, bringing in help in the form of Lizzie Wort (a far cry from her turn as Marilyn in last year’s The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe). Wort is a sensational fizzing ball of energy, more than keeping up with the boys as they run, jump and pratfall their ways across stage, swapping costumes and characters as they go. There’s even a hilariously unexpected bit of Kate Bush thrown in there for good measure.

While they may have given themselves quite a challenge in trying to boil down 60 complex mysteries for an audience six years and up, there’s not a dull moment in the show. While the frantic pace does rule out much meaningful audience interaction, there’s a lot of good stuff to keep kids entertained, especially a unique take on the battle with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Dan Clarkson’s surreal wit remains front and centre too, allowing for the pace to maintained by the unexpected appearance of giant bees and killer snakes.

It might not serve as a primer on Conan Doyle and it may not have the advantage of the Potter captive audience but Potted Sherlock is still a cracking show for kids and grown-ups alike.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

All 60 Sherlock stories in 70 elementary minutes! New show from creators of Potted Potter and Potted Panto, double Olivier nominees Dan and Jeff. ‘Fabulously funny’ (Telegraph). ‘Casts the perfect spell’ (New York Times). ‘Gloriously irreverent’ (Time Out).