We in Wales are lucky as it appears that we are on the backend of the COVID lockdowns (although nothing is guaranteed) but we have seen the beginning of the return of live theatre. During the lockdown periods, theatre production companies were forced to move all their shows to an online format with the performers all in completely different locations due to social distancing. Many companies felt as if online production is just something they had to do for the time being until the theatres reopened again and so there were very few changes to the shows to fit this new online format. However, Sharp teeth theatre from the get-go have managed to master the art of online theatre to create a show that could easily function solely online for many, many years after lockdowns are no longer necessary. This is my third time attending one of Sharp Teeth theatres ‘Sherlock in Holmes’ (which is still one of the best puns I have ever heard) and so has created a trilogy inside the murder mystery universe. Like any good movie trilogy, the first instalment titled simply ‘Sherlock in Holmes’ was spectacular with amazing performances by everyone involved and fantastic production value throughout. You can read my full thoughts on this show at https://rhysreviews.com/2020/11/29/sherlock-in-holmes-review/ The second was extremely entertaining as the cast helped to transport the audience deep into the Antarctic to again help to solve a mysterious murder which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/02/21/sherlock-in-homes-2-murder-on-ice-review/ and spoiler alert but this third one almost surpassed the first for its amazing quality and performance!
Sherlock In Holmes 3- murder at the games’ is set in 1960 just after countries from all over the world have competed in the Olympic Games which was in Rome. After everyone else had left to watch a fabulous fireworks display, it was discovered that Brad Mitten had been found dead after being locked in a sauna Pod. This means that the six Olympians who did not attend the fireworks are the possible suspects and the audience have to figure out who it was! To start the call everyone is put into one big lobby which is hosted by Sir Stanley Shartington who introduces the evening and explains how the night will work. This character also reminds everyone about the key information that was in their case files in case anyone was not able to see them. The viewers are then split into smaller groups where they will meet each of the characters and can ask them questions to figure out any clues, motives or information that could help to solve the case. The experience of this show (which is a collaboration between Sharp Teeth Theatre and The Wardrobe Theatre) started a few days before I actually sat down on zoom on the 2nd of December as they sent out important information about the show including case files about the suspects we were going to meet. The team working on every one of these productions clearly work hard to ensure that every little detail of the show is well thought out and meticulously planned as they send out this information which is formatted as if they are genuine case files with suspect information and a map of the scene of the crime. Within this email was also instructions on how to use zoom which I have to admit that this time I was very great full about as I have not used zoom since online teaching was stopped hear in the UK. I thought that it was absolutely brilliant that so much effort was put into the preparation materials but also that every single character had themed costume, backgrounds and props which helped bring the viewers into the fictional world in which the murder had taken place!
As always the names of the characters involved is always a highlight with hilarious puns such as Brad mitten, Anita gold, Greta Schott and Jean-Alice tique (with the latter taking me a while to figure out the joke and it was only when I heard it said with an extremely strong French accent that I got that it was a play on Journalistic.) These names not only matched the wonderful over-the-top-ness of the characters but also told the audience things about each person before even meeting them. The first thing that needs to be acknowledged about the performers within this show is the fact that every one of them is improvising their performance (with I imagine key points highlighted to them) due to the structure of the show that I discussed earlier. The cast have to all improvise their answers to the audiences questions while in character while also maintaining their exaggerated accents. This only demonstrated how extremely talented every single performer was on this show as no one ever broke character with everyone providing brilliant (and oftentimes hilarious) responses! My favourite performance in this show would have to be Alice Lamp who played the hilarious Greta Schott who was a German shot-put coach turned Olympic trainer. This character was so wonderfully exaggerated that it had everyone laughing throughout! This show not only acknowledges the fact that it is taking place through zoom (which works perfectly with the interview format) but uses this to its advantage. There are moments where key clues are shared with the group via the chat function and everyone is encouraged to share their accusations through the zoom poll functions which made for a much for a cohesive and enjoyable experience for anyone taking part.
Overall, this was a brilliant experience with every possible detail being considered to create a very enjoyable theatre experience. Everyone one of the cast deserves tremendous amounts of praise as being to improvise effectively in character is insanely difficult yet everyone involved in this show were able to do this with ease! The team behind this project have mastered the idea of zoom theatre and so could continue to make production well after social distance is gone and all they would need to create is a new theme and people would continue to rush to buy tickets! I would rate this production 4.5 stars out of 5!
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