Picking randomly from a hatful of audience-suggested titles is a risky way to form your entire play. Thankfully Ghostwriters’ great long-form improvisation abilities ensure that even the most eccentric suggestion gets played out with an engaging story and laughs aplenty. Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes is a whirlwind of mystery, intrigue and comedy, one sure to delight adults and teenagers of all sorts.
The seeming ease with which the three actors form nearly a dozen interesting characters is impressive. Of particular note is the quick-witted comedy of player Caitlin Campbell who on numerous occasions added in some brilliantly funny lines at lightning fast speed. Archie Cornish’s embodiment of the great detective is impressive: creating Holmesian deductions and employing that dry wit, true to his character. Tom Skelton’s furious speed and ingenuity portraying a host of characters – sometimes simultaneously – is a genuine joy to watch.
Occasionally the absurdity of the plot gets away from the players, yet they are deftly able to rein it in before true chaos ensues. Developing the play coherently sometimes proves tricky. The plot takes bizarre twists and turns, characters change names between scenes, and anachronisms abound. Nevertheless, the experience becomes all the more enjoyable for it.
The smart forethought regarding the backstage elements of the production also shines through. A plethora of appropriate costumes helps distinguish the flurry of characters, and thematic music is used effectively to set the scene. The fully improvised tech is smart and well-coordinated.
While Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes gets many of its laughs from things going slightly wrong, the fact that the players are always able to recover and play off them is commendable. It is a spectacular production, crafted at furious speed and leaves its audience crying with laughter.