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Sherlock Holmes and The Invisible Thing at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre

Stephen Chance and Philip Mansfield in Sherlock Holmes and the Invisible Thing at Rudolf Steiner Theatre, London. Photo: Alastair Hilton
Stephen Chance and Philip Mansfield in Sherlock Holmes and the Invisible Thing at Rudolf Steiner Theatre, London. Photo: Alastair Hilton

Sherlock Holmes and the Invisible Thing was first performed in 2016 at the Tabard Theatre and is now running at the Rudolf Steiner Theatre, Marylebone just around the corner from 221b Baker Street with a revised and edited version of the original play.

This is very much a play of two halves. The first half sets the story up well, with anticipation and shock as pictures dropped and lights shook. Stephen Chance in his role as Sherlock Holmes encapsulated my idea of how the deerstalker-wearing character should be portrayed. His calm demeanour, aloof body language and dry sarcastic sense of humour along with Holmes’ keen eye for detail in observing all his surroundings were delivered convincingly.

However, the second half of the play lost the storyline that had been built up during the first half. The conclusion felt rushed and the explanation of who and what the ‘Invisible Thing’ really was has been taken to the extreme and is totally farcical. In my opinion not in keeping with a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Set Designer Leah Sams has created an authentic stage setting. The grand leatherbound chairs, rich-red wallpaper and gold gilded period pictures combined together to create the appearance of a room inside a grand house which had been inherited by Vanessa-Faye Stanley’s character Lucy Grendle, after the death of her father.

Despite the script being disjointed in places, the cast of five all brought their characters to life, delivering good performances all around. Each one wearing costumes in keeping with the period in which the play has been set in.

Although Director David Phipps-Davis has attempted to create new life into Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective, Writer Greg Freeman fails to deliver continuity between both halves of the play which lets the storyline down. It would be very easy to think you had come back to a different play after the interval.

3 Star Review

Review by Elaine Chapman

Holmes and Watson are called to investigate a murder seemingly committed by an invisible perpetrator. As they probe into the mysterious lakeside drowning, something startling emerges…

A perplexed Inspector Peacock summons Holmes and Watson to the home of Miss Lucy Grendle, the daughter of the late Alfred Grendle – a man with a shadowy past. Miss Lucy Grendle has a problem with vodka (and Sherlock Holmes). The last time their paths crossed, it did not end well. Tension is in the air, and it’s not just because an Invisible Thing is prowling the house.

David Phipps-Davis directs Stephen Chance (Sherlock Holmes), Doug Cooper (Inspector Peacock), Philip Mansfield (Dr Watson), Imogen Smith (Betty Rochester) and Vanessa-Faye Stanley (Lucy Grendle). Written by Greg Freeman.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE INVISIBLE THING
Rudolf Steiner Theatre
35 Park Road, Marylebone, London NW1 6XT
17 July – 18 August 2019

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