by Daniel Clarkson and Tom Clarkson.
Vaudeville Theatre 404 Strand WC2R 0NH To 11 January 2015.
11am 27 Dec, 3, 10 Jan.
2pm 2, 8, 9 Jan.
3.30pm 29 Dec.
5pm 31 Dec.
7.30pm 28-40 Dec, 4, 5, 11 Jan.
Runs 1hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 412 4663/0844 482 9675.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 21 December.
Double act with deerstalker is comically infectious.
Holmes and Watson are the great double-act of crime fiction; Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner are shaping up to be a pretty fine comic double-act themselves (no wonder the programme advertises a play about comedians Morecambe and Wise).
Sherlock Holmes, that is, not brother Mycroft (the fabled intellectual in the putative Holmes family). And, is it Dr John Watson? Among the fascinating information in the programme, it seems Holmes’ creator accidentally rechristened the great deducer’s friend on one occasion. And his knowledge of snakes was lamentable.
That’s nothing like the muddle of the Potted duo. They are non-plussed at the intrusion of a female into their world. After all, with one villainous exception women in the Sherlock Holmes adventures remain anonymous. Lizzie Wort’s lively confidence means Mrs Hudson (landlady, not housekeeper at 221B Baker Street, as is pointed out) has a firm place, while adding comic complexities elsewhere.
Increasingly, the interplay of the duo with moments of sanity provided by Wort’s presence, becomes the point of the considerable humour. Once they’ve decided how many Sherlock stories they have to cover (Turner clearly counts a volume of short stories as one, Clarkson totalling the number of individual tales, both, sort-of, having a point) a number are reeled-off in terms of title and solution. Just a few, notably the most famous, The Hound of the Baskervilles being treated in some comical detail.
There’s neat treatment of arch-enemy and criminal überlord Professor Moriarty as a puppet dangling from Clarkson’s tall frame, so eager to appear he springs in at the mere suggestion of his name. “More tea” has him bounding on, though the best is his appearance in dance mode. And, of course, distinguishing Stage Left and Right for exits is beyond him. Perhaps a criminal mastermind can’t go Right for going wrong.
Clarkson’s gleeful eagerness and Turner’s more deliberative manner contrast well. A lot of skill goes to making moments as shambolic as some here seem to be. But don’t be misled; there’s little mystery here, but it clearly takes skill to pour-out jokes as rapidly as happens with this three-way double-act.
Cast: Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner, Lizzie Wort.
Director: Hanna Berrigan.
Designers: Simon Scullion. Louie Whitemore.
Lighting: Tim Mascall.
Composer: Phil Innes.
Associate director: Jom Brittain.
Associate sound: Steve McEvoy.