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Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol
by John Longenbaugh
The TMWA Clubhouse, Lime Meadow Avenue, South Croydon
December 2014
Directed by Alex Greenwood
 
Please CLICK HERE to view Charles Marriott's Photographs
 
 
 

The unpublished Croydon Advertiser Review.................... 


The combination of Conan Doyle’s irascible Sherlock Holmes and Dickens’ curmudgeonly Scrooge, brought together by playwright John Longenbaugh gave a seasonal touch to The Mitre’s excellent and intriguing production.


Conan Doyle’s characters told the main story, with the ghostly visitors purloined from A Christmas Carol turning a rude and unfriendly Sherlock to a benign and happy one, spreading Christmas largess instead of bah humbug.


Looking every inch the part, Warwick Jones created a Sherlock whom we could easily believe had been influenced by his ‘substances’ and who was deep into experiments with, so Mrs Hudson said, foul-smelling liquids. Something of a bully prior to the ghostly visits, he did not welcome the callers to 221b Baker Street - neither colleagues, family, friends or enemies.


Keen to cheer Homes and bring him a seasonal gift, Jamie Heath as Dr Watson worked his own small miracle by stepping in to the large role at a week’s notice and performing without a single prompt. His warmth and friendliness created exactly the right antithesis to Holmes’ coldness.


Mrs Hudson bore the brunt of much of Holmes’ rudeness with Jane Kortlandt,  who transformed into several other roles throughout, eventually considering to ask her lodger to leave. Played as the bustling, caring landlady, she happily accepted the apology finally offered.


Taking another leaf out of Dickens, a touching scene between the love-struck Becky and the young Sherlock brought Megan McMahon and Simon Long centre stage - all seen during a ghostly visit. Simon Long later returned as the second and cheerful spirit, wearing a wonderfully decorated hat, dripping with Christmas relevance.


Andy Holton was both DI Lestrade, he of slow police thinking and the General in an effective and effecting scene depicting the Christmas Day truce in WW1


Director Alex Greenwood, who brought this excellent production to the small stage in the Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian Association’s Clubhouse, also took on several roles, amongst them  a young Garrison trying to get Lestrade to follow up clues on a case, an older version of himself and Uncle Tim - a direct reference to Dickens’ Tiny Tim of the Cratchit family.


More doubling and tripling of roles came from Alex Greenslade as Holmes’ arch enemy  Moriarty,  Ros Broyd as the first spirit and an acerbic head nurse and Eve Simpson as Mycroft, Holmes’ haughty older brother, amongst other characters.   Mary Holton as Violet Holmes was one of the cleverly devised shadow-play characters.


Costumes by Di Jones oozed Victoriana, with Holmes’ red silky dressing gown lighting up the stage and Holmes’ room in Baker Street, elegant yet crammed full, was constructed by Alan Collins with assistance from the company.


A very clever, well delivered show with exceptional attention to detail both in the characterisations, the set and the costumes.

 

Theo Spring (December 2014 - For The Croydon Advertiser - unpublished)

 

  Please CLICK HERE to download a .pdf copy of the souvenir programme.