Kammy Darweish in A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre

A Sherlock Carol reviews ★★★

Reviews are in for A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre in London.

The show sees the worlds of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens come together in a spooky Christmas mystery that is playing at the Marylebone Theatre until 17 January 2023.

Written and directed by Mark Shanahan, A Sherlock Carol features a cast that includes Ben Caplan (BBC’s Call The Midwife) as Sherlock Holmes; Kammy Darweish (Life of Pi) as Ebenezer Scrooge; Rosie Armstong (Potted Panto) as The Countess and other roles; Richard James (Gangsta Granny) as Dr Watson and others; Gemma Laurie (ITV’s The Long Shadow)as Emma Wiggins and others; and Damian Lynch (The Comedy About a Bank Robbery) as Dr Cratchit and others.

The story mashes up A Christmas Carol with Sherlock Holmes crime-solving, as he investigates the mysterious death of his reformed benefactor, one Ebenezer Scrooge…

This article will be updated as more reviews come in.

Book tickets to A Sherlock Christmas Carol at the Marylebone Theatre in London

Average Critics Rating

A Sherlock Carol reviews

The Times

"A very merry mashup of Dickens and Doyle"

"As a murder mystery, it’s a tad convoluted, admittedly, yet the production delivers plenty of Victorian atmospherics, with the stylish, multi-tasking cast adding leering glances and a soupçon of grown-up pantomime."

"... if the plotting scatters loose ends, Shanahan’s production hustles us along cheerfully enough, adding some carol singing along the way. Anna Louizos’s skeletal period set sits nicely in an intimate venue that is a new addition to the capital’s landscape. Above all there’s genuine chemistry between Caplan and James, as they demonstrate on their re-creation of the first meeting between Holmes and Watson in A Study in Scarlet. Perhaps they could be let loose on another, more conventional case before too long."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Guardian

"The detective takes on Dickens in a fresh festive mashup"

"There’s only one sleuth in Victorian London who can get to the bottom of the suspicious death of Ebenezer Scrooge, in this winning crossover mystery"

"Writer-director Mark Shanahan’s mashup is very well executed, taking the characters, styles and themes of both and weaving them into a yuletide detective story."

"Given the glut of Christmas Carols on stage, this is an imaginative alternative with a refreshingly scrappy, fringe feel. Sets are brought on and off by actors who turn cartwheels in a multiplicity of character switches, with a wonderful central performance by Ben Caplan as Holmes. It is only the production’s gentle pace that feels off – it really could do with some revving up."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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Daily Mail

"Not sure about this, Sherlock"

"I wanted to adore it — and it is only two hours (a big plus in my books) — but the first half is fussy with subplots and awful comedy accents your children may love but I didn't.

"And though Kammy Darweish is a gorgeous Scrooge, Ben Caplan's detective needs to dial it up a bit in the first half to find the Sherlock magnetism. I know he had a hard time at the Reichenbach Falls, but that's no excuse to be so mopey."

Libby Purves, Daily Mail
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The Stage

"Struggles to conjure much flair"

"Dickens and Doyle mash-up struggles to transcend a prosaic production"

"Ben Caplan’s querulous Holmes is the highlight of the production; he’s lost all confidence in himself and resents the glamorised versions of his exploits penned by Watson for the press."

"It feels as if Shanahan, whose script is strongest when illustrating Holmes’ quirks, has spread himself too thin. The staging is never more than serviceable, and is sometimes clunky, with props and doors wheeled on. The first half is slow to get going, and the second is a (literal) wild goose chase that’s too convoluted and manically narrated to offer the satisfaction of solving a mystery."

"This show attempts to knit together a whodunnit, a ghost story and a Christmas celebration, but none of these strands satisfies. London is saturated with Christmas Carols and, while this one attempts to do something different, as a whole it feels like a slightly undercooked ready meal, rather than a feast of festive storytelling."

Julia Rank, The Stage
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"Sherlock meets Scrooge in this misguided seasonal mash-up"

"... you get the feeling that writer/director Mark Shanahan really likes Sherlock Holmes and maybe isn’t that into Dickens. Most of ‘A Sherlock Carol’ is just a Holmes story made from parts of other ones. The Dickens-y bits are generic festiveness and some ghosts, and there aren’t really enough of either. More of a problem is the production’s total inability to decide what it is. It’s not funny (see above), it’s not scary, it’s not great for kids and it’s not very Christmassy."

"What I did enjoy (which might just be me) was the sense that this is probably what a lot of popular Victorian theatre was like. A hopeful low-budget stab at a seasonal extravaganza with familiar characters and enough novelty value to allow you to accept that it’s not very good and just enjoy the madness for a couple of hours."

Chris Waywell, TimeOut
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📷 Main photo: Kammy Darweish in A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre. Photo by Danny Kaan

A Sherlock Carol

Marylebone Theatre, London

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