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The immersive online theatre show invites budding detective to solve The Case of the Hung Parliament


BWW Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES: AN ONLINE ADVENTURE, Les Enfants Terribles Have you ever found yourself reading or watching one of Sherlock Holmes' adventures and wanted to get involved in the action itself? Now you can.

Les Enfants Terribles have taken their expertise in crafting immersive theatre to the world wide web in Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure, directed by Oliver Lansley and James Seager. The theatre company are known for previous immersive productions such as Alice's Adventures Underground and Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie.

Our recent interview with Lansley reveals that The Case of the Hung Parliament, written by Anthony Spargo and himself, takes themes of our modern-day politics and weaves them into a tale with the well-loved detective duo, Holmes and Watson. Politicians in Westminster are falling dead left, right, and centre under the same strange circumstances. It's your task to catch the killer before they strike again.

Households can join a small group for approximately 75-minutes of sleuthing and mystery solving. During our particular call, our household of three joins three other pairs to form our detective team. We are greeted by Watson (Elliot Liburd), who gives an animated and authoritative performance as our guide through the interactive experience - and is not afraid to shout over us when needed to calm the chaos of the group call!

After a brief exchange of introductions, we are flung into action. We are given the autonomy for the first chunk of the evening to explore the crime scene through interactive browser-based rooms (if a tad clunky in the group format).

The company have certainly been creative with the tools within Zoom, making good use of breakout rooms to allow groups to divide and conquer while gathering clues from forensic labs and other sources.

Samuel Wyer's costumes would fit in any period adaption of the franchise. There is a mix of live and pre-recorded material, which keeps things slick. The format of the evening has been clearly thought through, and nothing lags for too long.

Richard Holt looks pitch-perfect as Sherlock, reciting theories and connecting threads of the story with intellect and ease. The suspects played by Amy Adele, Yasmin Keita, James Marlowe, Michele Moran, and Oliver Tilney are suitably withdrawn and menacing, although we only get to enjoy their pre-recorded performances.

Miranda Heath is listed as Gwendoline Grey from the forensics lab, but our paths didn't cross due to the team splitting up. Overall, we only interacted with one live actor during the entire show, which was a little disappointing compared to other live Zoom show offerings we have seen of late.

Our household watched the session on a 13-inch laptop, which felt a bit too small at times for managing the Zoom and web-based elements. For maximum accessibility (particularly if you have senior detectives on your team), we advise using the largest device you have to hand.

The inclusion of melancholic music (composed by Alistair Lax) certainly adds to the mysterious tone, but sometimes the sound design interferes with hearing others speaking on the Zoom call. The pre-show information advises the use of headphones where possible, which is certainly recommended.

We correctly solved the mystery during our particular session, and we were warmly congratulated for our efforts. As ever with immersive theatre, the more you get involved, the more you get out of it, and our group was fairly engaged bar the occasional Zoom call interruptions we've grown accustomed to.

If you're looking for something different to do while passing the time in lockdown, don your deerstalker hat and have a go at solving The Case of the Hung Parliament.

Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure available to book online until 4 April

Check out our interview with Oliver Lansley about creating the show

Photo credit: Les Enfants Terribles

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From This Author Fiona Scott