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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

A Sherlock Holmes Mystery: The Baker Street Irregulars and the case of the Stolen Portrait

PHTC – Putney High Theatre Company

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, Theatre, Youth Theatre

Venue: The Space On The Mile


Low Down

Holmes is in Brazil to foil another daring criminal whilst the Irregulars remain on hand to stop domestic pilfering. With a combined prowess equal to their inspiration we get the truth behind the theft of a portrait played out with all the suspects being assembled like a production line of essential Victorian melodrama. They get their man in the end, as does Holmes leaving us with a sense of all being right with the world as long as a paternal eye is being kept on this Victorian world and these Victorian street urchins.


This is a production aimed at soothing the senses that the Fringe must be there for the gloriously enthusiastic and not for the professional comedic curse. From the beginning of the set up where we get a tableaux of each of our young cast – all female – we watch them playing all the necessary parts and are then thoroughly charmed by their ability to pull off the script and keep us onside for the whole of the performance.

It is a strong nine in the cast and it is clear that each one of them understands the value of ensemble acting. Whether it be doubling as villain and not so villainous, being a femme fatale and a maid or one of the Irregulars I loved their ability to just keep a good story going. They truly invest themselves in the production and the beaming smile for whoever was at the lighting desk testimony to the value of long hours of rehearsal and probably many hairs being lost along the way…

The set and props were spot on, the costumes a treat but the inventive use of the picture frames was what had me from the very beginning right up to the end. To whomsoever thought that this worked as an idea – I salute you. In their young hands you could see that they saw how important the concept was to be if they were to pull it off.

Sometimes the lighting was a little sharp, the direction slightly out of kilter with the venue but all of this was to be expected and could be excused. The transition sequences were good but at times a little disordered and I thought there was scope for making them a little more artful and pushing the team. Having said that, the whole experience was little short of delightful and I left with a spring in my step and hope was restored eternally.