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A Sherlock Carol | Marylebone Theatre

A Sherlock Carol is the festive whodunnit you didn’t know you needed this Christmas. Written by Mark Shanahan, this show is a delightful combination of two of literatures greatest characters, unwrapping the mysteries of the Christmas spirit. The atmosphere is set as soon as you enterthe theatre with a merry proscenium arch and traditional festive music, combined with a simple metal frame on stage that transports the characters to every location they discuss. Designer Anna Louizos’ simplistic set allowed the actors to take the show on an adventure spanning across the whole of London. It let the imagination run wild, matching the essence of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures. The costumes are well crafted and versatile, changing quickly but not losing quality.


In this play there is a fun intermingling between the classic literature of both beloved characters and their tales. Sherlock is presented as a “Scrooge” character (or what we have previously presumed is a Scrooge character) sulking around at losing his greatest opponent Moriarty. It is in complimentary characterisations such as this that lines lifted from the books such as, ‘there is more of gravy than of grave about you’, fit comfortably into their new character’s mouths. Scrooge in this show has been ripped away from his known stereotypical character; he is no longer grumpy but a joyful and generous man who loves everything about Christmas… but in this tale he is dead, and therefore presumes the role of the Christmas spirits he knew so well.

Kammy Darweish as Scrooge gave a funny and versatile performance playing the character to both of his extremes, making his old self humorous and his new self jolly and profound. In this cleverly written play there was room for the scepticism of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and the presence of spirits from that of Dickens. It blended very well and in the classic whodunnit style there is a logical explanation that you could apply to it all, but still room for some wonder and Christmas magic.


Whilst the writing was exemplary, the beginning of the first act seemed to drag as they set up the context for their story. Sherlock’s characterisation was moody from the outset, replicating that of the unreformed Scrooge, however, whilst this was relevant to the story it lacked the depth expected from the nuanced persona that is the famous Mr. Holmes. This was nonetheless recovered once Sherlock was immersed in his investigation, and from there the game was truly afoot.


With a cast of six actors it is almost hard to believe how many characters were present on that stage. Scrooge and Holmes were parts that remain unchanged throughout, the remaining four actors embodied multiple characters from a little child to an old man exhibiting an acting range beyond belief. Not oneof the characters was left out, each were carefully considered and portrayed well, creating the illusion that Sherlock was truly investigating the whole of London.


If you would like something fun, intriguing and a bit different from your usual Christmas theatre trip, then we would recommend embarking on this investigation with Sherlock Holmes this winter. This shows runs until the 7th of January 2024 at the Marylebone Theatre. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Alex Brenner


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