Holmes for Rent, C Venue, Review
Created by Edinburgh’s own Arthur Conan Doyle, the eccentrically alluring tales of Sherlock Holmes have been reimagined by multiple directors and writers over the past few years, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr’s portrayals being at the forefront of the modern TV and cinema scene. Adding a musical theatre twist, Music Theatre Warwick bring their own take on the plights of the well known detective and his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson to this year's Fringe Festival.
Following the writing of his new book, a self important Watson (Ollie Yeats-Brown) reveals that his better known detective friend is nothing but a front for his own intuitive skills. Hired as a front man for Watson’s expertise, actor Rich Brooks (Rob Madge) takes on the arduous task of making a deer stalker a fashion statement. However, when a Willy Wonka-meets-Riff Raff Moriarty (Fred Kelly) foils a devious plan Watson is left missing in action, and Rich Brooks must truly become the detective he’s been pretending to be.
Dripping in farcical humour, director and writer Robin Kendall has crammed every pun possible into this melodramatic portrayal of Doyle’s classic tale. Although there are momentary lapses in pace, the cast power through adventurous dance breaks and slapstick comedy routines throughout, with the trio of female robbers (Ellie Sterland, Keeleight Tedford and Rachel Elfassy-Bitoun) giving exceptional vocal performances. Unaffected by the technical faults was Madge’s Holmes whose intrepid vocal performance disguises the unplanned, music-less interlude well.
Powers of deduction aren’t necessary to appreciate the humour, puns and wordplay peppered throughout this ludicrous interpretation. Blindingly obvious jokes lace the farcical storyline making the production easier on the mind than other recent Sherlock interpretations.
Times: 3-14, 16-29 August, 3.15pm (4.15pm)