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Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure: The Case of the Hung Parliament

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Creator: Les Enfants Terribles

Escape Zooms and online Whodunnits have been some of theatre’s successes during this year of lockdown. Some of the best Escape Zooms have been produced by Agent Venture while Play Dead London have become masters of the online Whodunnit. The Case of the Hung Parliament, created by Les Enfants Terribles, combines both formats and with some smart technology makes for an exciting 90 minutes.

Players are gathered by Dr Watson as Sherlock Holmes is not available. Watson urgently needs our help to stop the murder of the Prime Minister. The Foreign Secretary, The Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor have already been found hanged in their Westminster offices. Are their deaths the result of suicide or is there a serial killer afoot stalking the corridors of power?

Watson – here ably and entertainingly played by Maryam Grace – has not wasted any time and has previously drawn up a list of five suspects each with their own reasons for taking out the members of the Cabinet. It’s our job to work out method, motive and murderer.

With links being given in the chat, we are soon transported back to fin-de siècle London, and to the offices of the three victims where objects can be viewed and clues found in the manner of the old point-and-click video games. These explorations with the players collaborating prove to be the best part of the show, and the technology works smoothly and every object seems to have a surprise waiting in store.

When it comes to interviewing the suspects the technology is perhaps not quite as pleasing. The questions have already been prepared and in response we see selected recordings of each suspect, and it means that Watson is the only ‘live’ actor in the show. Still, it doesn’t hamper the experience too much, and very soon we are whisked away to another set of challenges in our bid to protect the PM.

It’s not an easy game and there are plenty of red herrings to throw you off course. When Sherlock Holmes – an irascible Richard Holt – finally does make an appearance in two pre-recorded segments you might hang your head in shame if you have plumped for the wrong suspect. Refreshingly, if you do get it wrong – and it’s certain that plenty will – the real killer is still unmasked, meaning that Les Enfants Terribles don’t expect you to play again.

We may be in 2021, but Victorian London is intricately re-imagined in this stylish Whodunnit, and the game runs efficiently and quickly. So brush off your deerstalker, and fill your pipe and head off down to Parliament.

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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