Credit: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Potted Sherlock

Yes, it's a children's show but all the genius of Arthur Conan Doyle is stripped away leaving nothing but the bare shell of the Holmes's stories. This is a terrible pantomime masquerading as a cleverly worked piece of theatre.

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Potted Sherlock is over the top pantomime acting mixed with an unnecessary amount of cringe worthy puns and slapstick moments. Yes, it's a children's show but all the genius of Arthur Conan Doyle is stripped away leaving nothing but the bare shell of the Holmes's stories accompanied by jokes which only get a laugh as they are so out of place: Sherlock dresses up as a bee, there are two Mrs. Hudsons and Moriarty appears as a creepy puppet. The essence of Sherlock Holmes is totally absent.

The focus is not on the Holmes stories but on slapstick interludes, when Jeff, Dan and the 'girl' come out of character and argue about how best to present the stories. The unintentional irony is, that in spending so much time on these moments, they fail to present the stories in anything like the most effective way. Cutting into their already constrained time limit means that the stories are flitted over with the actors often talking so fast that it is hard to pick up on what they say. Having just read all the Sherlock Holmes I can almost pick up on garbled references but for children any Sherlock moments are utterly lost.

To present all 60 stories in 70 minutes would be an incredible feat of theatre and has the potential to be breathtaking, but Dan and Jeff avoid this difficult task totally. The four cases which Sherlock Holmes didn't solve 'The Five Orange Pips', 'The Adventure of the Dancing Men', 'A Scandal in Bohemia' and 'The Yellow Face' are not explained in any more detail than above: the fact that Sherlock didn't completely succeed apparently sufficient justification for not mentioning them further. The last 23 Sherlock Stories are also crammed roughly, like a distasteful afterthought, into a 3 minute song at the end of the show: the three actors sing so fast that catching what they say is impossible.

Admittedly the costumes are outrageous, the swapping of parts perfectly timed and many of the lines well written but none of these aspects are integrated into the Sherlock stories themselves. If this was advertised as a good-fun children's pantomime the review would not be so harsh, but this company totally misrepresent themselves luring audiences in with expectations of seeing incredible, well worked theatre. In trying to make a mockery of the Holmes stories, they achieve only in making a mockery of themselves.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
60 Pleasance
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