Potted Sherlock at the Vaudeville
The makers of the surprising West End success Potted Potter have now quite unashamedly cashed in on the international Sherlock Holmes hype created by Benedict Cumberbatch and the BBC, reducing one of our most famous literary figures to a series of lame gags dressed up with a deer-stalker and pipe.
Unlike the BBC series, which combined great writing with a loyal dedication to the original characterisations, this swindle mutilates all the genius from Arthur Conan Doyle’s invention, spoiling the plots to all 60 of the Holmes stories in 80 agonising minutes.
The whole thing is lazy and desperate, failing to fill its vacuum of substance with awful gags, cheap slapstick and lapses into playground stupidity. Between miming the solo from Baker Street on a toy saxophone and throwing confetti in Dr Watson’s face, someone slips in an occasional line such as “Actually, in the stories, Sherlock was a very complex character” in an obvious attempt to please the schoolteachers who have been conned into bringing their classes on the grounds that the show might be minutely educational. It isn’t.
If it weren’t so repulsively bad, it would be almost tragic – two-thirds of the trio are Blue Peter alumni, and there is a slight hint of panic in their eyes as they move from excruciating joke to excruciating joke with all the energy of a department store perfume seller with a cattle prod to the back.
The real tragedy is that rubbish such as this occupies a large theatre opposite Charing Cross station, while something like Cinderella and the Beanstalk – another three-person kids’ production fitting multiple stories into one show – is hidden away above a pub in Battersea.
Don’t go to this. There is a wealth of entertaining and intelligent theatre for kids around, and Potted Sherlock is neither.
Potted Sherlock is on at the Vaudeville Theatre until 11th January 2015, for further information or to book visit here.