Potted Sherlock (5 stars)

This article is from 2014

Potted Sherlock

A riotous romp through Conan Doyle’s back catalogue

For over 100 years, Sherlock Holmes has been entertaining readers with his fierce intelligence, interesting caseload and slightly maverick approach. So anyone attempting to encapsulate all 60 of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes tales (the four biggies, plus lots of short stories) had better have a healthy dose of those qualities, themselves.

Fans of Dan and Jeff’s previous Fringe shows, Potted Potter, Potted Pirates and Potted Panto will know that the duo is indeed armed with a sharp wit and ability to approach things from an unexpected angle – so Potted Sherlock is in safe hands.

Re-counting 60 tales in 70 minutes would, you’d assume, be impossible. Especially given that a good half hour of that time is spent on absolute silliness that makes no reference to the actual stories at all. But that’s where the genius lies. An endless round of cases explained and solved would quickly tire – whereas Dan and Jeff’s between story banter never grows stale.

A fairly elaborate set places us in Baker Street, while a range of ridiculous costumes (hats in particular) illustrates the countless clients and combatants Holmes and Watson encounter during the stories. Which would probably stretch beyond the physical capacity even of these two, were it not for the welcome addition of a new female cast member.

With more entrances and exits than a French farce, the trio hurtle around the set and through the Holmes back catalogue, pausing only to give extra attention to A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear.

Cultural references come thick and fast – some for the adults, some for the kids, most for all – and, like Sherlock Holmes himself, cleverness and wit triumphs over a seemingly impossible task.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 13, 20), 2.50pm, £11-£12 (£10-£11).

Potted Sherlock

  • 5 stars

All 60 Sherlock stories in 70 elementary minutes. New show from creators of Potted Potter and Potted Panto, double Olivier nominees Dan and Jeff.