Sherlock Holmes goes cruising on Hampstead Heath with Dr Watson and dresses up in drag - shock! Well, that's a slight exaggeration but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous creation, complete with deer-stalker hat and pipe, dons a new guise and tongue in cheek persona in this new fast and frenetic comedy.
Sherlock Holmes is in trouble. Young Eve has gone missing. Her distraught mother enlists the help of the detective and his sidekick Watson to find the girl. But with the smell of fear drawing closer, will the duo have the guts and determination required or will they end up going holme?! Corny joke? Well, Sherlock Holmes In Trouble is full of 'em! But they're zinged across with such aplomb, amidst such a variety of comedy chaos, that you can't help laughing like a loon regardless.
Lloyd Hutchinson delivers a fantastic performance as the detective with a fondness for drag disguises. His ability to remain po-faced at pivotal moments allows the audience to enjoy the jokes more freely. He also plays a great woman (as he previously did in Stones in His Pockets in the West End).
Miltos Yerolemou plays another sidekick, Two Times, emulating the kind of scratchy, acrobatic stance that comedian Lee Evans has perfected so well. Though he doesn't appear winded himself, Yerolemou's sheer energy takes the audience's collective breath away. Elsewhere, Jason Watkins makes a great Dr Watson, and Toby Hadoke gets plenty of laughs in a multitude of scene-stealing roles.
Where this zany, stupid but always funny play really triumphs is in - miraculously - appealing to all generations. On the night I attended, I saw children laughing at the pratfalls, teenagers smirking at the more risqué jokes and adults enjoying the spoofs of ER and Titanic amongst others.
Writers Mark Long and Emil Wolk's have succeeded here in poking affectionate fun at the world's most famous fictional detective whilst also allowing a new, younger audience in on the joke. It's sheer cheek and it works.
- Glenn Meads