This is a very clever fictional version of the infamous Jack The Ripper murders case, using many of the known facts and imagining the rest. Written by British author and screenwriter, Brian Clemens, whose admirable list of writing credits includes TV series’ The Avengers and The Professionals as well as many other shows, movies and plays. Here, he appropriates the immortal Sherlock Holmes as his hero, giving volume to the Ripper story, and allowing Clemens to create a credible plot and satisfying solution to the mystery.
As ever, the Genesian Theatre Company has gone all out on sets and costumes, delivering us convincingly back to Victorian-era London. Lighting is used to great effect, transforming the stage into a gloomy, ominous dark London street in the wrong part of town and creating genuine tension. The performances are all strong, with John Willis-Richards bringing the familiar aloof, intellectual aspects of Holmes but also showing a sensitive, vulnerable side in his affection for Katherine Mead (Zoe Crawford). Peter David Allison is the perfect foil as Dr Watson, more reactive and pragmatic. Crawford completes the chemistry in the trio, adding female sensibility. Genesian favourite, Sandra Bass is delightful as Mrs Hudson, Holmes’ housekeeper, exuding a calculated air of mischief.
It’s a play of conspiracy and intrigue with themes that resonate still today. It is also filled with lots of witty humour and charm, amplified by the vintage ambience of this historical and quaint theatre.
Until Jun 15. Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney. $25-$30+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.genesiantheatre.com.au
Reviewed by Irina Dunn