Watermill world premiere rocks #Sherlock for the social media age
The adventures of crime-busting Sherlock Holmes have been widely adapted for film and television and now as a new bold modern rock musical, written and directed by P Burton-Morgan, with music by Ben Glasstone. It has its world premiere at the Watermill Theatre in collaboration with Metta Theatre.
Adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood is set in modern day London with all the dependence on social media platforms and concerns of climate and ecological issues at its centre.
Dylan Wood is impressive as the guitar playing, rapping young Sherlock, who together with his landlady and fervent nutritionist Dr Amanda Watson - an engaging performance from Me’sha Bryan - who has built up huge numbers of social media followers all prefaced with hash tags are a crime fighting duo.
Activist Yorri Tremaly (Em Williams) is unhappy about the unexplained death of her friend at the infamous Oakenwood crisp factory and visit Sherlock to persuade him to take on the investigation as themed in the song, “Elementary.”
They accept the case and Sherlock decides to go undercover and infiltrate the camp. He suspects that his arch-nemesis Jan Moriarty, powerfully played by Gillian Kirkpatrick, is behind a dastardly plan to take control of the world. So “the game is certainly afoot”.
However, when the eco warriors come down with food poisoning, Sherlock becomes the main suspect and is arrested by donut-loving police inspector Lestrade in a delightful comic performance by Richard P Peralta, featuring a song about ‘Biscuits’. It’s hilarious.
All the actors are accomplished musicians, with Jimmy Chambers as the band leader, who also plays the role of Zephyr. Loren O’Dair plays the violin beautifully as well as the character Sasha.
There is a strong unexpected mother-daughter link I won’t spoil the reveal and the sustainable credentials are admirable, as all the set, props and costume have been made from secondhand materials and will be passed on after the production.
Special mention for Matt Powel’s inventive projections and captions that created the spirit of the production so well in this daring, gutsy musical.