Brighton FringeFeaturedReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Watson: The Final Problem – Rialto Theatre 

Reviewer: Simon Topping

The Reviews Hub Score

Plenty of Potential 

By Smokescreen Productions 

 

Based on two of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, The Sign of Four and The Final Problem comes this tale from Sherlock Holmes’ most dedicated and devoted companion, Dr John Watson. 

Sat in his apartment, with both Holmes and his beloved wife gone from the world, Watson regales the audience with the hitherto untold tale of his friend’s demise. With false reports and innuendo rife, it is time to set the record straight. 

In this engaging hour of theatre Tim Marriott performs all the characters, in the main Dr Wason, and guides those gathered through the events leading up to Sherlock’s disappearance.

Marriott is a good performer, he occasionally stumbles over a line here or there and the energy of the performance drops sometimes, but on the whole it is a solid performance that is well received. There is not much of a distinction between Marriott’s portrayal of Watson and Holmes but his characterisation of Holme’s evil nemesis, Moriaty, is wonderfully acted and mesmerising to watch. 

Firstly harking back to the date when the two friends met, Watson tells of their early days together.  Coming back from the Afghanistan war, the doctor has seen his fill of conflict and looks to settle down as a practitioner in London. Searching for lodging he is introduced to the detective, via a mutual friend, and soon becomes ensconced in intrigue. 

Moving the action on, Watson tells of the incident which led to his friend’s death. Holmes has discovered the existence of a dangerous master criminal who controls the web of the underworld like an omnipotent spider. In trying to take his arch enemy down Watson and Holmes have to flee to the continent and hide away, with Moriarty hot on their heels.

With vivid recollection Watson, the late soldier, husband and co-detective, describes every detail of the intriguing case to the delight of the appreciative gathering.  With his wife dying and Holmes gone, he briefly contemplates suicide but the internal voices of his companions thankfully dissuade him to complete the task. 

The performance has a wonderful soundtrack attached. It is well put together and runs for the perfect time of an hour. 

As the piece comes to a close, the doctor concludes his story, but is this the end?  As a knock on the door alerts him, perhaps there is more to the tale. 

Watson: The Final Problem is a faithful retelling of the Conan Doyle story and with some more development and continued performance has great potential to become a fabulous theatrical event. 

 

Reviewed on 17th June  

 

 

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