The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes at the Pleasance Theatre
A two character play, set in book-laden, intellectual hovel 221b Baker Street, The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes does very little to surprise Holmes fans.
A period set, affected upper-class tones and tea stained newspapers, this portrayal of Sherlock at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington is everything you thought it couldn’t possibly be. After the runaway success of the BBC’s Sherlock, not to mention Guy Ritchie’s two high-profile, big-budget blockbusters, no one could be said to be in need of another hash-out of the same themes and the same character, not even the London stage.
Thanks in large part to Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Guy Ritchie, any mainstream audience will already know of Sherlock’s key character traits and narratives, for instance, we are all aware of the protagonist’s predilection for intravenous drug-use as well as his suspected and often alluded to, yet never actually explicitly revealed, homosexuality. These themes are winners with contemporary audiences, which is why they’ve been wrung out and hung up to dry behind TV and cinema screens all around the world. True, Gatiss and Moffat are both just as guilty of milking these themes as Tim Norton, writer of The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes, but the difference is large.
Based on the classic short stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the characters of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, the play presents the pairing in an hour of need. Not having worked in a long while, Holmes’ accounts are in dire need of a cash injection and the only way to do this is to sell an old case or write a new one. With Holmes busy spiralling stationarily into drug-induced rants, Watson is left to pick up the pieces and teach him how to waltz. The result is not nearly as farcical as it sounds and the wordy script wrongly takes centre stage.
Very obviously a Doyle fan-kid, Norton presents his knowledge of the stories blandly and with little comedic style. The entire play is a meta drama, a nod to Doyle and his creations as well as the success Holmes has had as a literary creation, but this is nothing new.
To those who like their Sherlocks set in the 1930s with deerstalker and catchphrase, accompanied by a pandering and disappointed Watson, The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes may well appeal.
The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes is at the Pleasance Theatre until 2nd March 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.