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Posts Tagged ‘John Cusworth’

Hoxton Hall might be a bit of a schlep for us South West Londoners, but it’s the perfect venue for Morphic Graffiti’s music hall take on Leslie Bricusse’s musical comedy. A surprisingly small hall with a high proscenium stage and two levels of tiny balconies with wrought iron railings held up by thin pillars. Gorgeous.

The musical is ‘framed’ by a music hall show with the cast in period costumes telling us that there’ll be magic, puppets and singalongs. The musical itself opens with a puppet show of the ending of the Reichenbach Falls adventure where both Holmes and Moriarty perish, but we soon meet him back at Baker Street to find he didn’t die at all. After solving a couple of cases, including the disappearance of the House of Commons mace, the evening’s main story starts and Holmes finds himself pursued by a mysterious woman with a big grudge.

It’s tongue-in-cheek fun, made more so by the clever idea of the music hall framing and the appropriateness of the venue. Bricusse’s music, though probably not his best, also suits the idea / setting well. The puppets provided an appropriate prologue, the magic was very good and there were lots more clever touches. I normally prefer small-scale musicals unamplified, but in this high venue with a 5-piece band (including percussion) to the left and in front of the stage, it meant some of the lyrics of solo numbers were lost, though this didn’t really spoil the fun of the evening.

Stepehn Leask as Inspector Lestrade, John Cusworth as Watson and Andrea Miller as Mrs Hudson seemed most at home with the style, though the whole ensemble gave their all and Nathan Jarvis’ band played very well. There’s some sprightly choreography from Lee Proud and Stewart Charlesworth’s design and costumes are terrific. Like their Jekyll & Hyde at the Union Theatre last year, Luke Fredericks staging is inventive and fresh.

Morphic Graffiti have built on an impressive start with Jekyll. They had Bricusse on board for this and have nabbed a Stage One new producer bursary at a very early stage. Definitely a show to catch and definitely a company to watch.

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