Adelaide Fringe 2016
In an old, abandoned theatre a lecture is about to take place. An eminent professor of Criminology prepares to educate his audience on the inner workings of Sherlock Holmes – The Science Of Deduction and Analysis. Based on the much loved stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis is an original and interactive drama which has toured the UK. With the audience at the centre of the evening, nothing is quite what it seems.
Going to the Queen’s Theatre is a pleasure in itself. Warm and welcoming, it has a charming bar and the cutest little Alice in Wonderland garden for pre-show drinks. The theatre is very old and has some strange quirks (notably the ceiling, which looks like it could collapse at any minute), but it is a good size, has helpful acoustics and is packed with charm.
We were all welcomed into the theatre itself from the bar and the audience sat at large, circular tables. We were given name tags and the ‘lecture’ began. Soon it became clear that the lecturer was Holmes himself and he immediately started to bring the audience into his story with madcap fun and games. It was all done with great charm and wit. The wordplay was enormous fun and the audience was soon roaring with laughter. Watson appeared and the pace increased again. Both characters drew energy from the audience and people were in stitches throughout as it all got sillier and sillier. We chatted together and the warmth in the room was lovely. We certainly did have to pay attention or we would be called fully to account! Eventually Moriarty was unmasked and the last elements of the story played themselves out.
It was a most charming evening. The actors were funny, witty and highly engaging. The simple staging of an overhead projector on stage worked with the lecture format and the few props – the phone, drinks, hats and envelopes for the games – were pertinent and used wisely. Being in such a relatively large space, with seats around huge tables, also worked well. We were close enough to each other that people chatted at the right moments and not so scattered around that the experience wasn’t intimate and intense at times.
The Flanagan Collective are right to be proud of this piece of theatre, which was creative and highly engaging fun.