The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

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Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Fear!, Greenwich Theatre
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Photo credit: http://www.rumpustheatrecompany.co.uk/future.htm

Cut and pasted from the Rumpus Theatre Company Website:

The world’s most famous detective in the world’s most thrilling case ...

Rumpus Theatre Company presents:

Sherlock Homes - A Study in Fear!
A gripping new play by John Goodrum
Adapted from the classic story The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The world’s most successful detective takes on the world’s most notorious villain ... Sherlock Holmes, brilliant, flawed and inclined to justice, finally confronts Professor James Moriarty, brilliant, flawed and wholly inclined to evil!

When Holmes arrives unexpectedly at the door of his old friend and colleague Dr Watson, at the beginning of this hugely entertaining new version of the classic Conan Doyle tale, he begs the good Doctor’s assistance for one final case ... and an exhilarating evening of mystery, chase, disguise and detection are the inevitable result, culminating in a breath-taking showdown at the tumultuous Reichenbach Falls.

Starring Ian Sharrock as Dr Watson and Nicholas Briggs as Sherlock Holmes.

This is the trailer:


Raks's Reaction

This is a relatively easy review for me to write. I saw Sherlock Holmes - A Study in Fear! at the Greenwich Theatre on Wednesday 3 October 2012.

First, I would like to start with the positive.

Major spoiler alert!
The "twist" that was new in this play was that it took the story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and applied it to Holmes and Moriarty. That meant that Holmes and Moriarty were one and the same person, two sides of the same coin, the two extremes of personality, good and evil, both captured in one being. This play therefore told the story of the struggle between good and evil for Holmes/Moriarty's soul, would God or the Devil win in the end? I thought this was a very clever concept, a genius idea, totally in keeping with the Victorian and the Gothic setting and the narratives that were around at the time. I thought that the idea and the concept was definitely worth exploring and provided plenty of food for thought.

Nicholas Briggs as Holmes AND Moriarty was excellent. Briggs has played Sherlock Holmes on the radio and on the stage - there is a whole audio series where he plays Holmes - and so you would expect nothing less.

Next, the negative aspects of the production of which there were, unfortunately, many. Ian Sharrock played Watson as a complete and utter fool - a buffoon - and this was massively disappointing. I think Martin Freeman's portrayal of Dr Watson is bang on the money - someone who is quiet and unassuming and yet intelligent, loyal and trustworthy, steadfast and strong, a man of action and a man of iron. There is no way someone like Sherlock Holmes would choose as his best friend, loyal companion and sidekick, someone who was an idiot. To play Dr Watson in this day and age as a buffoon is just wrong, wrong, wrong!

Finally, the production was really let down by its lack of props and set. Once again, in this day and age, to have no decent props or set is inexusable. You cannot bring The Final Problem to life with one table, a few chairs, and little else.

In conclusion, I would not recommend this production because of the primitive and backward portrayal of Dr Watson and the lack of any stagecraft. That being said, I think the "twist" and the new concept at the heart of the play was very clever - genius! - and I would like other plays in the future to explore this further.

If you do want to see the play, it is now on tour, and the venues and dates can be found here:
http://www.rumpustheatrecompany.co.uk/future.htm

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Based on your review I don't think I'll rush to see this when it comes my way. Pity – because the idea of Holmes/Moriarty being one and the same person is always interesting. But like you, I cannot bear a stupid Watson. :-/

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