The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, King's Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Presented by Ian Fricker
Robin Herford (Director), Jeremy Paul (Writer), Simon Higlett (Design), Matthew Eagland (Lighting), Matthew Bugg (Sound Design and Music Composer)
Phillip Franks (Dr Watson), Peter Egan (Sherlock Holmes)
Running time

Everyone knows the name Sherlock Holmes, often referred to as the greatest detective of all time thanks to his skill for seeing the tiniest details that are missed by everyone else. Now fans of the sleuth have the opportunity to delve deep in Holmes’ soul and see his demons on Jeremy Paul’s piece which focuses on the spectres of the mind which plague the detective.

We follow the story of how Holmes (Peter Egan), drug-induced to get through the abhorring nature of the dram everyday, befriends Dr Watson (Phillip Franks), who becomes his loyal companion as they battle against the detective’s arch nemesis and criminal mastermind, Professor Moriarty.

The plot twist becomes evident early on and many who are interested in the mysteries that Holmes investigates rather than the man himself may be dissatisfied in the lack of action. Director Robin Herford who’s also responsible for the successful thriller The Woman in Black, knows how to create an atmosphere of suspense and foreboding and utilises this expertise beautifully with this piece, keeping it from becoming too morbidly static with interjections of humour.

The dialogue is broken up into high paced, pithy duologues and the opportunity to enter both men’s minds with various spot-lighted monologues, delivered with pathos as we hear their thoughts, which both engage the audience and propel the story and the time-frame of action forward. However, the continuation of using this technique begins to become tiresome.

Credit has to be given to Egan and Franks'; their skilled acting and chemistry help keep the audience interested as the scripts weighty, in-depth ramblings require a great deal of focus from the audience, but both men can claim to keep many interested where others may have lost the ear of the observer.

Aided by Simon Higlett’s imaginatively constructed set which presents Holmes’ comforting and dusty Baker Street residency with brooding Victorian London lurking on the outskirts, the piece removes the usual swiftness of adventure and cerebral vigour which usually characterises a Holmes tale. It is replaced by exploration and elucidation in an engaging two-hander, highlighting that the human mind has the capacity to create anything while conflicting personalities and ideologies can create the perfect friendship.

Show runs Until Sat 3 April

© Lindsay Corr, March 2010