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Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper Murders at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 14th Jul 2015 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, from Jeremy Brett’s tortured portrayal in the eighties and nineties to Benedict Cumberbatch’s tongue-in-cheek more recent interpretation. And as a fan of horror films, my fascination of Jack the Ripper has never waned.

So Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper Murders is the perfect combination for me - and it gets better.

For it was written by Brian Clemens, most famous for creating the hugely popular TV series’ The Avengers. The Persuaders and The Professionals.

Clemens died in January this year at the age of 86, but he lives on, not only in his writing but in his sons Samuel, who plays Sherlock Holmes in this production, and George, who is the technical director. Together they also write, produce and direct films under the title The Clemens Bros.

Dad would be proud. This production is chock full of atmosphere, with special effects which will have you jumping out of your seats. Edward Patrick White’s terrifying original music and David North’s lighting add to the creepiness, though the changing backdrops are not always easy to decipher and Shaung Hu’s graphic animations don’t really work.

There is plenty for ghouls like me: in the first few minutes there’s a grisly murder, followed by the appearance of a clairvoyant, a wonderfully realistic scene in which Ewan Goddard as ‘the stranger’ has an epileptic fit, graphic graphics and insane and sinister characters.

And in true Brian Clemens tradition, it’s a damn good yarn which is not without its comic moments, especially from George Telfer as Dr Watson who resents being in the background and being taken for granted by Holmes.

Based wholly on stature, I would have liked to have seen the tall, slim, bearded Telfer as Sherlock Holmes, while Sam Clemens, though playing the part perfectly well, lacks the aloofness and tortured persona of the Holmes I’m used to seeing.

Not all of the characters are clearly defined. We don’t discover Sir William Gull, played by Andrew Paul (who is currently playing Liz’s ominous boyfriend Dan in Coronation Street - though it looks like not for long as he is now ‘on the road’), is the Queen’s physician until nearing the end of the play, and I didn’t always know which prostitute was which, but Kim Taylforth as a bustling Mrs Hudson certainly made her mark, as did Lara Lemon as clairvoyant Kate Mead, while Michael Kirk is excellent as the mysterious Netley.

All in all, under the direction of Patric Kearns, you will certainly get your money’s worth!

 

Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper Murders is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until July 18.

Box office: 01753

www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

 

It then continues touring:

Jul 21-25: Malvern Theatre

Aug 3-5:  Lyceum Theatre, Crewe

Aug 6-8: Empire Theatre, Inverness

Aug 11-15: Grand Theatre, Swansea

Aug 24-26: Buxton Opera House

Sept 28-Oct 3: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford

Oct 6-10: Dundee Repertory Theatre

Oct 12-13: Marina Theatre, Lowestoft

Oct 15-17: Millennium Forum, Derry

Oct 21-24: Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon

Oct 26-27: Hexagon Theatre, Reading

Nov 3-7: Grand Theatre, Blackpool

www.talking-scarlet.co.uk

 

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