The little known private life and inner turmoil of Britain's famous detective is the subject of this play. It may be supposed that producing a play on the private life of a fictional character requires a fair amount of reading between the lines of Conan Doyle’s books - he is after all a fictional character.
This is not a production recounting Holmes’ and Watson’s ingenious and ‘elementary’ investigations solving devious and dastardly crimes, using Holmes’ powers of observation and deduction. It in fact, looks into the private life of the great detective, his meeting of and dependence upon Mr. Watson, his brilliance and outshining of his counterpart. Holmes is portrayed as a troubled and complex genius, plagued by addiction and schizophrenia, constantly searching for stimulation for his great intellect. His nemesis, Professor Moriatti, provides temporary respite from boredom, but is set upon Holmes’ destruction.
The play is well produced with an excellent set showing Victorian London’s tired charm. Exclusive dialogue between Holmes Peter Egan and Watson Philip Franks is sympathetic and accomplished. With atmospheric music they maintain intensity and hols attention throughout the production, but somehow interest is missing. Although well written by Jeremy Paul and pulling many threads together, somehow the whole concept fails to appeal.
Perhaps as a character study, this is an interesting piece. However, if you are looking for a romp through a twisting, turning plot, this is not it. As the winter returns to Scotland with a vicious sting in its tail, you would be well advised to shut out the elements and wrap up with a mug of cocoa and one of Sir Arthur’s tried and tested novels.
- Rebecca Hale