Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE LAST ACT – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2024 at Studio 166 At Goodwood Theatre And Studios

Holmes reflects on his career, on the death of Watson.

By: Mar. 04, 2024
Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE LAST ACT – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2024 at Studio 166 At Goodwood Theatre And Studios
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Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Sunday 3rd March 2024.

Written by Conan Doyle expert, David Stuart Davies, and directed by award winner, Gareth Armstrong, Sherlock Holmes: The Last Act features Nigel Miles-Thomas as Sherlock Holmes. Presented by Fringe Management LLC and Joanne Hartstone.

The year is 1916 and Doctor John Watson, friend, and chronicler of the cases of Sherlock Holmes, has died. The famous consulting detective has emerged from his retirement in Sussex, where he has spent the last two years, to attend the funeral, and has returned to their old lodgings, where we find him reminiscing. His thoughts go back to their first meeting and how, both looking for inexpensive lodgings, they agreed to share the rooms at 221B Baker Street.

Aside from Holmes and Watson, Miles-Thomas briefly portrays other characters: Inspector Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft Holmes, Professor Moriarty, and a few other villains. He plays, the publicity tells us, fourteen characters. I’ll take their word for it. I was too absorbed in the performance to keep count.

Several of the case stories are referenced, and conversations quoted, including the fight with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, where Moriarty fell to his death, and Holmes allowed the world to believe that he had also died. An invented section explains what he did during those years until he reappeared, surprising Watson.

Holmes shares his personal history, his childhood, and relationships with his parents and older brother, Mycroft, comparing his father to the villain in The Speckled Band. He also admits to his friendship with Watson, and offers some apologies, particularly for keeping him in the dark during the case of the Baskervilles and the famous hound.

The script seamlessly combines the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and that of David Stuart Davies, and Miles-Thomas does a sensational job of bringing it to life under Armstrong’s direction, not only as an entirely believable Holmes but, with changes in voice, accent, demeanour, and facial expressions, effectively creating all of the other characters. It doesn’t matter whether you are a knowledgeable fan of Conan Doyle’s stories, or not, this is an hour of fine theatre that will captivate you.


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