There’s been a murder. Sherlock Holmes, retired and keeping bees at the end of the world (Sussex) has been drafted in, once more, to help the local constabulary solve an unusual crime. Combined with a surprise visit from Mary Watson – the wife of his oldest friend – Holmes finds himself drawn back to 221B Baker Street and a mystery that takes the seasoned sleuth into frightening new territory. This piece of new writing by Simon Reade takes inspiration from the spiritualist work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to provide a supernatural, yet faithful new chapter into the twilight years of the world’s only consulting detective.
The Final Curtain’s sharp writing is true to the Holmes that we all know and love. Featuring a tense plot and a streak of acerbic wit, Reade has masterfully captured the tone of Conan Doyle. The audience is left constantly wondering if this is a standard murder mystery, a supernatural occurrence, or something else entirely. From the characteristically astounding deductions to the genuinely scary climax, The Final Curtain is true edge-of-the-seat stuff. The resolution of the play is somewhat drawn out by two superfluous final scenes, but is otherwise well-paced and enjoyable.
Robert Powell does a convincing turn as the great detective, yet Liza Goddard’s captivating take on the much-maligned role of Mary Watson is undeniably the standout performance. Timothy Kightley’s supporting appearance as Doctor Watson provides some of the much-needed chemistry binding the characters together, as well as giving the traditional narrative voice to the tale.
From the beautiful, atmospheric period interiors of Baker Street to the clever use of a sweeping curtain to mask scene changes, the set design was convincing and well-considered. Combined with the consistently high quality of acting, this play is truly one to watch.
Despite a shaky ending, this play is highly recommendable and an enjoyable night out at the theatre.
Running time: 1hr 55 (incl. 20 min interval)
Review by: B&B
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