Sherlock Holmes is one of the United Kingdoms best known detectives, loved by many who call themselves Sherlockians or Holmesians. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish author and physician, Sherlock first came to life in 1887. He has since appeared in 4 novels and 56 short stories alongside his trusty sidekick, Dr John Watson. The Blackeyed Theatre company’s most recent show is the fourth and final novel in the Holmes series, The Valley of Fear. It is currently on its last leg of the UK tour, finishing in the glorious city of Cardiff. You can still get tickets but be quick, it’s only in The New Theatre until Friday 26th May!! Keep reading for an honest review of Sherlock Holmes on the stage.
The Valley of Fear
Sherlock receives a message from Porlock; an informant who sends deciphered messages about Holmes’ archenemy, Moriarty. From here, the fabulous duo, Holmes, and Watson, begin their mysterious journey in solving the murder of Mr John Douglas of Birlstone House. The story also follows a band of brothers from America where they refer to the locale as ‘The Valley of Fear’. In true Sherlock style, the story is full of twists, turns, and confusion, until the very end when the fantastic Holmes brings all the pieces together to solve the crime.
Sherlock Holmes on Stage
The Blackeyed Theatre Company have kept the stage performance true to the original story, so expect flitting scenes between the past and present, and the UK and USA. The dialogue is also true to the book, including on stage narration from Watson himself. Creating the 19th century vibe, the set embodied that of 221B Baker Street with busy flock wallpaper, the infamous wingback leather chesterfield chair, and of course Watson’s typewriter.
The cast of five did a fantastic job playing a variety of roles, switching between accents, and moving the set around themselves between scene changes. The star of the show, Sherlock played by Luke Barton, embodied all we know about Holmes perfectly; highly intelligent, sarcastic, impatient, and witty. Standing tall on the stage, Holmes oozed stage appeal and engaged with the audience well.
Dr Watson, played by Joseph Derrington, narrated the show as well as encapsulating Watson down to a limp. Not to mention also playing a US brother therefore flitting between accents every other scene. The narration was on point and added some well needed dialogue to the show. Watson was played with the faithfulness we all love. He also possessed the feistiness we’ve seen when Holmes goes a bit too far in making selfish decisions.
Mrs Hudson, played by Alice Osmanski, added the soft feminine element but not a wallflower! She kept true to the original, often mocking Holmes and Watson with little quips like, ‘I’ll get that, shall I?’… Accent wise, I felt Alice probably had the hardest of all, a thick northern, thick American, and some kind of German/European (I think!). Alice did a fabulous job making sure her presence on stage wasn’t overshadowed by the four strong male presence. She held her own and played her characters with strength and confidence.
Worth a Watch? An Honest Review
As a big Sherlock Holmes fan, this stage show did not disappoint. Although I was not familiar with this particular story per se, I liked the element of not being able to connect the dots immediately. It kept me engaged and wondering what was coming next, what was actually going on, and who could have possibly killed Mr Douglas, just as a murder mystery should!
I really enjoyed the little sing songs between scene changes as the cast swapped bits around, banging props to the beat of the music. It added a nice interest to the stage performance.
The acting was brilliant, with elements of humour throughout, the quick wittedness broke the concentration of the mystery itself. All the cast members did brilliantly, performing 2 or 3 roles each and managing to stay in the current character for each. Sherlock was obviously the star of the show, but I loved Watson and Mrs Hudson as well.
Go and see it, you will not be disappointed. But don’t delay, there are only 3 performance left!!
Want to see my interview with Sherlock himself? Head to my YouTube Channel to find out what we chatted about!
Love Steel Magnolias? Read my recent review and book your tickets for a show near you!
6 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes on Stage – An Honest Review”
This sounds like a good play, I’m not a big Sherlock Holmes fan, but I can see why you enjoyed it! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I’ve never read the books, only seen the TV/film versions. But I downloaded the audible version of this and the production has remained true to the book 💜
This sounds great! I wonder if they will do another run of it next year – I’d love to see it!
I hope so, it was a fab adaptation.
This sounds like a great watch! I love that these actors are so versatile and can switch between roles.
It sounds like you enjoyed yourself and great you were able to interview him too! I don’t think I have watched anything or read anything of Sherlock Holmes but I would probably enjoy this. Thank you for sharing.
Lauren – bournemouthgirl
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