Sherlock Holmes has returned to
his rooms at 221b Baker Street, London after being in Sussex enjoying
retirement for two years for the funeral of his old friend, Dr Watson.Set immediately after the burial, this one
man shows sees Holmes, (Roger Llewellyn) reminiscing over the years he had
known Holmes, from first meeting him right through to his passing.
All the action takes
place in the sitting room of of the famous Baker St address with Holmes addressing the dead Watson as
if he is still there.Recounting their
first encounter and their decision to lodge together, how they came to be a
crime fighting unit, intimate tales of discussions had, thoughts and feeling
exchanged and personality traits that irritated each other sees Llewellyn
creating all the characters with varying degrees of success.
variety of accents skilfully and with minimal props, Llewellyn plays Holmes,
Watson, the landlady and Holmes’ father amongst others however as the piece progresses
this becomes increasingly irritating as a wide number of ancillary characters
are referred to and created however few are distinct enough to be memorable and
over the course of the play they all become quite similar and repetitive.
Llewellyn’s Holmes is
quite unpleasant, arrogant, cocksure, full of self importance with an inflated
ego which makes it difficult to warm to the character on stage and engage with
the dialogue.Despite the fact we are
lead to believe Holmes’ is mourning the loss of a dear friend, the vast
majority of the dialogue is Holmes’ reliving tales about himself, with the
occasional passing reference to Watson at irregular and infrequent
This becomes somewhat tedious
and is a weakness in the writing I feel. As an audience member it feels like
being stuck at a party with the one guest everyone avoids as they just wish to
talk about themselves at length; oblivious to the reactions of the
The use of the
occasional sound effect should strengthen and support the dialogue and help to
set the scene however unfortunately on this occasion, the sound effects often
drown out the dialogue and are used to excess, causing annoyance rather than
enhancing the performance.
There is little doubt
Llewellyn works very hard for the 90 minutes as the only cast member, however I
cannot help feeling this piece would be much better suited to radio to do it
Although sure to be a
hit with Holmes’ fans, the piece feels drawn, unimaginative
and one-dimensional for those without a fanatical interest in anything featuring his deer-stalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass.