Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival, this show is the fourth in the series of ‘Potted’ shows from Dan Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, who are joined in their Sherlockian endeavours by Lizzie Wort. Their aim: to present all sixty Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories in just eighty minutes.
Their previous shows have centred on Harry Potter, Pirates and Panto, so this is a step further, and although the former CBBC presenters do aim this at the childish end of the spectrum and audience, somewhere along the way the point of the show is lost.
We start with Holmes being introduced by the theme from Shaft, and despite the best efforts of the three hardworking cast to swap characters and zip through the stories with some humour and a bit of song and dance, the moments which really work are few – a running gag involving a puppet Moriarty is fun, the Northern grit of the murderer in The Speckled Band works well, and some musical interludes during the Hound of the Baskervilles raise a smile.
It’s obvious that the performers love the stories, but why throwaway so many opportunities when characters like the one-legged man of the Sign of Four, the Crooked Man, the Man With The Twisted Lip, and even Mycroft – who is mentioned but sadly, never appears could be rich seams of comedy? Too much mugging and fake corpsing goes on, and although it is funny to see the old water pistol gag making an appearance, it may be a case of too little, too late.
(Also, in the Priory School, it is not the father who orders his son to be kidnapped so the illegitimate elder son can inherit, but the half-brother himself).