The premise: ‘Sherlock Holmes and the [insert audience suggestion here].’ The response: three actors improvise an Arthur Conan Doyle narrative around this title. The result: utter brilliance.
If you’re a fan of Sherlock, you must see this show.
It’s no surprise that Spontaneous Sherlock has punters lining up along the pavement to catch this free show. The premise is wonderfully simple and the show is hilarious from start to finish. Underscored with piano that perfectly pitches mood and pace as well as skillful lighting that responds quickly to performers, this improv show seems more professional than the free fringe venue to which it belongs.
All three performers enjoy giving each other hell on stage. It’s a tit for tat game of who can wrangle the others into the most embarrassing or downright difficult improv corner. The results of their competitive natures are hilarious, most notably a charmingly terrible improvised song and dance routine between Mrs Hudson and her sister, Mrs Hudson.
They also relish playing off the mistakes in each other's’ speech or holes in the narrative. Comedy is drawn from their slip-ups (which are frequent) such as pointing out the anachronism of the phrase ‘on my radar’ or riffing off a slip of the tongue that replaces Hudson with Husband.
As you would expect from an improv about Sherlock Holmes, all three performers are extremely witty and eloquent. Will Naameh in particular treats the audience to a series of metaphors, ever increasing in the ridiculous. With only three performers they are all called upon to take on a number of characters and flex their character comedy muscles. Eric Geistfield in particular is a wonderful physical comedian. Sam Irving, the Sherlock of the night, fills the deerstalker perfectly with his far-fetched and whimsical deductions.
There are also some nice routines that add an interesting dynamic to the show such as flashbacks and a surreal speed through of ‘two-thousand one hundred’ different men lining up to be Holmes’ next assistant. All this absurdity, however, leaves little time for narrative. The crafting of the actual show isn’t given enough focus (ten minutes at the end), meaning that the impressiveness that comes with both making an audience laugh and creating a plausible plot is somewhat lacking.
Despite this, they manage to tie up the loose ends with a flourish and a giggle. If you’re a fan of Sherlock, you must see this show.