Theatre review: Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
3.00

 

The Sherlock Holmes franchise has been assiduously exploited on the written page, on stage, cinema and TV ever since A Study in Scarlet announced the arrival of the world’s greatest detective back in 1887.

For this brand new story, Leeds’ writer Mark Catley has turned to a brief and apparently unexplained gap in Holmes’ fictional CV in which he returns from the celebrated death grapple on the Reichenbach Falls with arch enemy Moriarty. Holmes is a broken man, his back hideously scarred, his mind in an even worse state.

He has given up detecting and is lurking round his Baker Street flat in his pyjamas. The violin stands forgotten in the corner, the Briar pipe un-puffed, his deer stalker hanging limply on the back of his door. He can’t even be bothered to be rude to people.

It’s all a terrible state of affairs – especially for the loyal Dr Watson who when he is not anointing his hero with cream (something he clearly enjoys a great deal) is urging him to get on with the dirty business of detection.

Holmes for his part seems more interested in selling his story to a ghastly cor-blimey caricature of a newspaper reporter. Then, thankfully, something happens.

Holmes’ brother Mycroft, who most of us will have got to know in the BBC’s hugely popular Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is in trouble.

And from here the plot thickens. At times it thickens so much that you might want to give up trying to work out the best kept secret and just enjoy the ride.

But there are some decent comic moments along the way in this slap-sticky, steam-punky romp.

The characters send themselves up, Watson camps it up and Sherlock nearly screws it up.

Of course, in the end he doesn’t but he does threaten to melt in the arms of The Woman, Irene Adler. This again recalls that scorching S&M encounter between the human logic machine and his alluring female nemesis in the recent TV series.

Yet for all its pace, swirling fogs and thunder claps, the stage version seems tardy compared to the small screen and its digital wizardry - despite the best efforts of Jason Durr, Andrew Hall and Tanya Franks as Holmes, Watson and Adler.

Yet the audience clearly loved being in the presence of their hero and the applause at the end signalled this as a popular hit.

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk