Arthur Conan Doyle really did something special when he dreamt up the world’s greatest detective. Want a flawed hero? Conan Doyle provided one, and then some.
In Mark Catley’s version of the Sherlock legend, he carries his many demons on his back – literally in the case of the impressive scars he bears. It makes for a hero who we can see from the outset is deeply damaged and while it would have been interesting to see a little more of Sherlock’s heroism, Catley picks up the story during our hero’s dark night of the soul.
The convoluted, sometimes over-complex story involves Sherlock attempting to discover how his own brother Mycroft has been implicated in the deaths of over 200 people.
The first act is a little over full of exposition, but there is a series of thrilling set pieces and Catley mines the personal relationships which the highly impersonal Holmes has in his life. Misery really shouldn’t be this entertaining.
It is in the second act that the piece begins to crank up the tension, so much so it would be no surprise if this were the first show in a series of Sherlock plays from the creative team of Catley and director Nikolai Foster.
The humour of the piece is typical Catley and played for all its worth particularly by Victor McGuire as Inspector Lestrade, and Tanya Franks as Irene Adler does a superb job.
The best thing about this piece? It will leave you waiting for the next instalment which you will leave convinced can’t be too far off.
To June 8.
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds