Tag Archives: Michele Moran

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament

★★★★

Online via www.sherlockimmersive.com

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament

Online via www.sherlockimmersive.com

Reviewed – 23rd February 2021

★★★★

 

“a hugely enjoyable alternative to bringing audiences together during the pandemic”

 

At a time when every evening feels the same, it becomes increasingly difficult to find ways of focussing on our direction and knowing where to go or what to do. Particularly when the road maps we are handed are either vague, or else they just point us towards a destination that seems too far away. It is refreshing, then, to be handed, on a silver platter, something a bit different. ‘Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company’, known for immersive productions such as “Alice’s Adventures Underground” and “Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie” have resourcefully adapted their unique style of storytelling for the online age we have been forced to enter during this past year.

“Sherlock Holmes – An Online Adventure” has evolved from a live version of a similar previous production; “The Game’s Afoot” at Madame Tussauds in 2016. In this new online experience, the audience is invited into a virtual world to become the joint protagonists in what is best described as a mix of board game and murder mystery. Forced to go online by the pandemic, this is an innovative way of keeping creatives active and people engaged in the theatre world, even if the lines are blurred between ‘theatre’ and ‘game show’.

The show is subtitled; “The Case of the Hung Parliament”. Sherlock Holmes had been called away to solve another case, out in some indeterminate wilderness, so Dr Watson is left in charge. It is far from ‘elementary’ to Watson, so he recruits us as private detectives to help him solve the case. And we have just over an hour in which to crack it.

The Home Secretary, The Foreign Secretary and the Lord Chamberlain, have all been found hanging, in their own chambers. Each victim died on their birthday, and on that day had received a card with a mysterious quote written in it. The Prime Minister, it appears, is the next on the list of victims. Watson (a thoroughly convincing portrayal by Dominic Allen) briefs us all with a list of suspects before we collectively go off in search of clues. Oliver Lansley, the Artistic Director of Les Enfants Terribles, has said, in a recent interview, that “the fun of a whodunnit is usually not the answer; it’s the journey”. If you embrace the show with that spirit, then you won’t go wrong. The clues are sometimes hopelessly obscure but, on Zoom, we confer and throw theories into the pot, seeing things through different eyes. As Holmes famously quoted: “When you have eliminated the impossible; whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

The team have joined forces with the virtual reality company LIVR to create a 360° world in which we search for the hidden clues. It is a kind of adult version of the ‘Secret Path Books’ you would read as a child in which the outcome is determined by the choices you make. We have the chance to interview the suspects too and, before we point the finger and name the accused, Sherlock himself (Richard Holt) beams onto our screens guiding us towards a unanimous verdict. “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact”. Time is running out, so our scrambled minds reach a majority decision before Holmes tells us we are right. Or wrong.

There is nothing deceptive about the intentions of this company to provide a hugely enjoyable alternative to bringing audiences together during the pandemic. That they succeed is an obvious fact.

 

 

Reviewed by Jonathan Evans

Photography courtesy Les Enfants Terribles

 


Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Hung Parliament

Online via www.sherlockimmersive.com

 

Last ten shows reviewed by Jonathan:
Rent | ★★★★★ | Online | November 2020
Right Left With Heels | ★★★★ | Online | November 2020
Ute Lemper: Rendezvous With Marlene | ★★★★★ | Online | November 2020
Salon | ★★★ | Century Club | December 2020
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk | ★★★★ | Online | December 2020
The Dumb Waiter | ★★★★ | Hampstead Theatre | December 2020
The Pirates Of Penzance | ★★★★★ | Palace Theatre | December 2020
The Elf Who Was Scared of Christmas | ★★★★ | Charing Cross Theatre | December 2020
A Christmas Carol | ★★★ | Online | December 2020
Snow White in the Seven Months of Lockdown | ★★★★ | Online | December 2020

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

Into the Woods – 4 Stars

Woods

Into the Woods

Cockpit Theatre

Reviewed – 25th May 2018

★★★★

“a hugely complex work with multi-layered lessons and warnings”

 

Sondheim and Lapine’s Tony Award winning musical, ‘Into the Woods’, is transported imaginatively to the 21st century by Tim McArthur in a slick and entertaining production. It illustrates the timelessness of fairy tales, the messages they convey and, more importantly, the ones they don’t. ‘Cinderella’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ and ‘Rapunzel’ are woven together by the plight of a baker and his wife who must undo a spell of infertility cast on them by a wicked witch. In Act One we enjoy the familiar stories as they all wish for their dreams and enter the woods – the big, brutal world – in pursuit of them. Their quests successful and desires fulfilled, they can live happily ever after. Or can they? Act Two unravels these aspirations, the consequences of how they are achieved, followed by disillusionment, responsibility, revenge, loss … and, ultimately, the many realisations of adulthood, including the underlying fascination for what lies in the woods.

The array of contemporary, larger-than-life roles fits effortlessly together. Some, however, find a more rounded definition than others: Jamie O’Donnell steals the show with his beautifully detailed interpretation of Jack, giving him depth and pathos, and his mother (Madeleine MacMahon) draws a wonderful picture of his background with her strong personality. Michele Moran, as the witch, arouses both fear and sympathy and Cinderella (Abigail Carter-Simpson) and Red Riding Hood (Florence Odumosu) depict a more human and questioning side to their personalities from the beginning. As the narrator, Jordan Michael Todd skilfully creates his own charismatic persona, embedding himself surreptitiously into the action while drawing us in as the storyteller.

The ensemble singing is tightly coordinated and well-balanced but the individual voices are less consistent. Both Jo Wickham and Tim McArthur show their professional musical theatre experience and there are many strong newcomers, but a few are, on occasions, overshadowed by the band. Aaron Clingham (Musical Director) and his musicians provide the perfect accompaniment to the performance.

Staged in the round, we are wrapped up in the comings and goings of the play, with wood chippings underfoot. Joana Dias’ set design of assorted ladders gives the feeling of a play for adults, offset by the rudimentary props. The lighting (Vittorio Verta) ably fashions the dappled sunlight and shadows in the woods as well as the fairy-tale special effects.

‘Into the Woods’ is a hugely complex work with multi-layered lessons and warnings. The overriding theme appears as “Be careful what you wish for” but there is also a powerful point made to parents: “Be careful what you say, children may listen”. Mothers and fathers figure prominently, accepting or otherwise the repercussions of their parenting. It broaches the subjects of blame and greed, reinforces the supportive nature of survival and addresses our natural sense of adventure – do we want to live happily ever after or do we want to live life? Tim McArthur’s astute direction brings out these ideas and makes them relevant.

 

Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington 

Photography by David Ovenden

 


Into the Woods

Cockpit Theatre until 24th June

 

Related
Also directed by Tim McArthur
Hot Lips & Cold War | ★★★★★ | London Theatre Workshop | February 2018

 

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