ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

expressions were just brilliant, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where he was playing all the characters in the pictures, and when he got trapped in the window frame – fantastic and skilfully delivered physical comedy which was really appreciated by the audience. Jaqueline Green played multiple roles, both male and female, and fully committed to each role with a dazzling confidence. Jacqueline’s range of accents was fantastic, particularly her European accent, and her hound howls were also particularly impressive. I enjoyed her passionate performance as Cecile, when she really drew us in and kept us in the moment with her. This was a playful character and her enjoyment really sparkled throughout. There were some hilarious moments, such as the characters sinking in the quicksand behind the suitcases: it was synchronised and timed to perfection. The re-run of act one was also very entertaining, with silly gags, people forgetting props and the stage manager getting shot. I did enjoy the re-run but felt more could have been made of missed comedy opportunities. The cast was supported by a strong technical and backstage team. The lighting and smoke were atmospheric and well utilised. The costumes were authentic (well perhaps not the sideburns and moustaches!) and all the changes were fast and slick, and the backstage team should be commended for this. The set was simplistic, with various reversible screens representing the locations, the moor, Baker Street, the train, the bedroom, etc. These worked well and allowed for some slick scene changes. I thought it was really clever the way that the sauna bench became the horse and carriage with the actors moving the set. I would have liked to have seen more of these transitions as some of the blackouts, and the repetitive Sherlock music really jarred, and slowed the flow of the performance. (Although I wouldn’t say quite as bad as dragging the pace like an asthmatic donkey). The comedy style was quite dated and typical British stiff upper lip, and tongue in cheek – it reminded me of a TV sitcom style such as ‘Blackadder’. With it’s silly insults such as ‘Moose boy’ and ‘beef cheeks’, and eye-roll worthy gags like “don’t beat about the bush” and “walk this way”. That said, I did feel that some of the jokes seemed to fall on deaf ears leaving the audience somewhat bemused and slow to catch up on the style of the play, particularly in the first half which meant that, unfortunately, some of the comedy was lost. Although there was a lot of “smoke and mirrors” and some “total twaddle”, credit goes to the skill of the actors for helping us to relax into the style of the play and not take it too seriously. It was, in the end, a chaotic but enjoyable evening of entertainment.