Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four
Theatre Royal Windsor
Take a carriage, a boat or follow a bloodhound to Blackeyed Theatre's retelling of The Sign of Four, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tale.
As fans of Shelock Holmes will know, this is the one where Dr Watson meets Mary Morston.
She arrives at 221B Baker Street hoping for help to find her missing father.
Holmes is riveted by the case while Watson is rapt by Mary herself.
The story involves betrayals, unlikely friendship, crossing continents lost treasure and vengeance.
The talented cast takes on the narrative, and backstory, playing multiple parts and musical instruments.
The theatrical side works brilliantly and the adaptation by director Nick Lane shows his love of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery.
For the stage though, I think the story needs less love and fewer words.
You could feel the audience getting a little restless round about the Andaman islands.
But it is a lovely piece of theatre with an original score, by Tristan Parkes, nice direction and atmospheric lighting. Victoria Spearing's clever set frames the stage with wooden slats and delicate shapes, a little like elongated bird cages, suggesting London's tall chimneys or the silhoette of Indian temples or tipping to become prow of a boat.
Special mention to Ru Hamilton as Thaddeus Sholto and Zach Lee as Jonathan Small and Luke Bartonas as Sherlock,
The cast even did well speaking Persian, according to my Iranian friend Parvaneh.
Humorous and compelling, I'd give it three and a half out of four.