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Theatre review: The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes at the Pleasance Theatre

PUBLISHED: 13:09 20 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:10 20 February 2014

the pleasance

the pleasance

Archant

Jonny Lee Miller has just flown stateside to do it while Benedict Cumberbatch has certainly done us proud here. With over 70 actors having played Sherlock Holmes – consistently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘‘most portrayed movie character’’ – there’s no shortage of Sherlocks to favour.

THE FINAL REVELATION

OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

Pleasance Theatre, Islington HHIII

Jonny Lee Miller has just flown stateside to do it while Benedict Cumberbatch has certainly done us proud here. With over 70 actors having played Sherlock Holmes – consistently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘‘most portrayed movie character’’ – there’s no shortage of Sherlocks to favour.

Now, 30 years after first staging the play, the Pleasance is wading in with a revival of Tim Norton’s The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes.

Directed by Danny Wainwright, the selling point is immediately evident: the production’s lovingly created period style. Holmes purists won’t be disappointed on that front. But the play itself lacks insight and mystery.

Dr Watson [James McGregor] is concerned: Sherlock Holmes’ [Nico Lennon] drug dependency is getting worse and Watson has resorted to selling stories of past cases to pay the bills.

Watson suggests Holmes make a guest appearance at the military surgeons’ ball for quick cash. Holmes hates dancing but wants to present his most recent case: solving a crime so perfectly orchestrated that no one even knows it has been committed or who is dead.

The two banter, bicker and practice the waltz together.

If you like your Sherlock Holmes served with a generous helping of homoerotic subtext, there’s plenty here.

But while both actors do impressive Noel Coward ­accents and the language is fastidiously elevated, the comedy overplays this central ‘‘joke’’ – ‘‘Are you suggesting I have a crush on you Watson,’’ Holmes even states.

Norton attempts to ­inject intrigue into the second half with a literary twist and a hypothetical reveal [the ­excessive smoke effects suddenly make sense] that take the play up a notch or two but the journey there will not set your pulse racing.

Lennon does his best to imbue his Holmes with the checklist of character traits we know and love and the quick wit and intolerance are convincingly played.

Lennon has the stature for the role but it’s Holmes by numbers and he lacks the necessary ambiguity.

Thankfully McGregor takes on Watson with relish and owns the role.

Caroline David


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