Review by: Paul Towers, 02 July 2018
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain
By Simon Reade after Arthur Conan Doyle
A Theatre Royal Bath & Kenny Wax production
Curve 2 – 7th July 2018
“Sherlock Holmes has retired to obscurity.”
The premise of this new play is that Sherlock Holmes has retired to obscurity after supposedly dying in The Final Problem and ended up in a cottage on the Sussex coast keeping bees. It is from here that events conspire to drag him back to 221b Baker Street where Dr & Mrs Watson reside and are looked after by Miss Hudson, daughter of their former housekeeper. Holmes is convinced that he is being stalked and liable to be killed. Can he work out who his killer is before they get to him?
I wanted there to be an energy, a Benedict Cumberbatch zing to both the dialogue and the action. But there wasn’t. The production lulled me into a relaxed state akin to listening to whale music. I couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm for the play.
It wasn’t that anything was wrong with the production, just that there wasn’t anything right.
The actors acted well, they projected without microphones and every word could be heard. The set looked nice, a back cloth separated the blank foreground from the busily dressed study behind. Scene changes were imaginatively covered by a curtain sliding across the stage but was more animated than the onstage action. The whole thing was very pedestrian. It looked and sounded like a radio play transferred lazily to the stage.
Robert Powell as Holmes did his best, enunciating well and declaiming with conviction. Timothy Knightley as Dr Watson was everything we could ask for as a replacement for Nigel Stock from the 60’s TV series. Liza Goddard was suitably de-glamorised for her role as Mary Watson. Thank goodness for Anna O’Grady’s Miss Hudson for some much needed light relief.
At least we were comfortable in Curve’s air conditioned auditorium.
Tickets for the rest of the week’s run are available at www.curveonline.co.uk