Rudimentary, my dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper Murders

Malvern Festival Theatre


YOU know a supposed 'grisly' murder mystery is in trouble when Jack The Ripper whips out a knife and much of the audience giggles at the sound effects.sherlock holmes

That sums up much of this slow-moving, tiresome Talking Scarlet production that would have had Conan Doyle turning in his grave.

While the plot and motive of this case (involving Holmes and Dr Watson in the Whitechapel prostitute murders) was quite clever, the characterisation was a step too far.

The script by the late Brian Clemens diluted Holmes' grand intelligence. Gone was his enviable brilliance, his sharp edge and that special sense of genius.

Instead the iconic detective was reduced to an amiable, sensitive fellow cooing over a new love interest.

I must admit Holmes fans have been spoilt in recent years with TV drama Sherlock and the excellent portrayal by Benedict Cumberbatch. That leaves many other versions in the shade but this adaptation didn't even come close.

Drawing the audience into Victorian London was a backdrop of basic video graphics and dramatic, creepy music. Unfortunately, the music is also used as a time-filler and pads things out for at least a quarter of the show.

Surprisingly, there are a couple of well known names in this show, including Andrew Paul (one-time PC Quinnan in The Bill and Dan Jones in Coronation Street), Neil Roberts (Holby) and Kim Taylforth (London's Burning and Bad Girls).

Rather than the gripping crime capers and puzzles Holmes has become famous for, sadly this production became a study in tediousness. To Saturday, 25 July.

Alison Brinkworth



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