Benedict Who? Sherlock Potted At The Vaudeville Theatre

By James FitzGerald Last edited 38 months ago
Benedict Who? Sherlock Potted At The Vaudeville Theatre ★★★☆☆ 3

Dan Clarkson, Lizzie Wort and Jefferson Turner in Potted Sherlock. Photo courtesy of Geraint Lewis

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

They’ve done it to pirates, panto, Harry Potter and now — proving there’s no cultural cornerstone which can’t be “potted” — comedy duo Dan and Jeff cram all 60 stories of the Sherlock Holmes bibliography into one frantic 80-minute bonanza.

With the assistance of Lizzie Wort, Potted Sherlock sees the pair deploy innumerable props, costumes and pop-comedy singalongs to solve each and every Holmes mystery — or at least, the ones the great detective himself could. The idioms of “posh” Victoriana are collided with new-fangled, Tinder-referencing 2014 in a heady blend.

If you want a little onstage chaos a cut above the local Jack and the Beanstalk this yuletide, know that this Sherlock has adventured everywhere: cruise liners, the Edinburgh circuit, even Mexico. The rendition of Holmes’s showdown with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls is the scene which knocks ‘em all down, apparently. (It’s got water pistols.)

Elementary family fare, but if you’re a grown-up, or a Holmes aficionado, there’s lots more than slapstick. In pursuit of clever parody, Potted Sherlock sneaks past the populist modern incarnations to the 19th century originals. Benedict who..?

Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales weren’t all triumphs (suffice to say, by The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, inspiration must have been drying up). But with a little endearing nerdiness, Potted Sherlock reveals its deep love for the misfires as well as for the Studies in Scarlet and the Hounds of the Baskervilles of the Holmes oeuvre.

It even makes a big virtue out of the stories’ excruciating repetitiveness, letting the gang blast through handfuls of tales with a merry, hat-swapping song and dance. At times, the repartee could fizz along even quicker, with less lingering on specific sight gags — but that’s probably a positive reflection of how formidable the pacesetting is.

Potted Sherlock runs until 11 January at Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, WC2R 0NH. Tickets from £22.18. Londonist saw this performance with a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 15 December 2014