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Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood - Watermill Theatre REVIEW

When a press release for the brand new Sherlock Holmes rock musical landed in my inbox you’d better know I was intrigued. Holmes isn’t the easiest character to bring into the 21st century but the Watermill and Metta Theatre were exactly the people to take on the case. 

Not only did it have all the key elements of a cracking modern musical but it took on the tricky topics of social media and cancel culture, climate issues, control and coercion, transgender awareness and eating disorders. 

I do fear that sometimes the show attempted to cover slightly too many themes and topics leaving the overall message a little less punchy than it could be as well and the classic Sherlock-style storyline a little lost among the moral messages. 

However, there is a nice character chemistry from the off between Sherlock as the rock guitar playing, frantic yet lazy young man with Dr Amanda Watson as the cool, calm and collected mother figure who spends her time picking up Sherlocks laundry and running his social media channels. The dynamic is only enhanced by a strong villain of Jan Moriarty, who is both an enemy to Sherlock, the climate and their own family. 

A massive special mention must go to Loren O’Dair who stepped up to take on the role of Yorri which she does not usually cover. Despite a script in hand, Loren was brilliant in this role and brought the character to life. The abundance of cheers at her bow during the curtain call made it clear the audience were grateful that she saved the show that day. 

The score shines bright with each lyric perfectly sculpted and each number cleverly structured. The guitar-heavy songs are all equally enjoyable with “Elementary” standing strong as the catchiest moment of the night. 

The importance of inclusivity and sustainability are clear throughout the production with captions running throughout the show and all the set being recycled multiple times. 

It’s yet another stellar show from the team at the Watermill who are continuing to prove exactly why they’ve been voted as The Stage’s Theatre of the Year. 

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