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Adelaide Fringe 2015

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

On the Fly Impro

Genre: Improvised Theatre

Venue: Grace Emily Hotel – 232 Waymouth Street, Adelaide 


Low Down

When a tall man climbs over Sherlock Holmes’ back fence with a strange problem the game is on. Dr Watson, Professor James Moriarity, Irene Adler, Inspector Lestrade and Mrs Hudson feature in this imaginative story that has everything a classic mystery should have—red herrings, obscure clues, disguises, and a thrilling chase.    


In this original story featuring the beloved characters from Sherlock Holmes actors respond to each other and improvise on set with key lines that drive the story to the gripping finale. A very tall man calls on Holmes and Watson to help solve a case of stolen/missing identity. This leads to unravelling a conspiracy, which (inevitably) Professor James Moriarity has expertly woven with the assistance of Irene Adler.

It was an interesting piece of improvisation theatre with amateur actors feeding off each others’ energy, responding to their surroundings, the ambiance, and, of course, the audience’s reactions. While the plot itself was interesting and engaging the actors need to work on their on-stage cues and direction—there were several instances where two or more actors were speaking over each other and prolonged pauses which were eventually filled with key lines that carried the story forward. Although the genre is improve theatre, the characters need to stay true to the era and therefore use the appropriate phrases, colloquialisms to maintain the fantasy unfolding on stage.

The lighting, production, and soundtrack were well executed, adding to the ambiance and setting the mood of the scenes; however, the lack of props—even simple ones—was disappointing and some of the jokes were lost on the audience. Despite these inconsistencies and failings the audience was entertained and eagerly anticipated the subsequent scenes and events.