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I say Watson, this is a damn fine play
It is quite an ambitious undertaking, but actor Tim Marriott clearly succeeds in pulling it off. His challenge is to tell the fateful final adventure of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes from the viewpoint of his loyal friend and sidekick Dr John Watson. And Tim, who created this new one-man play, ably conjures up the spirit and presence of Holmes during his eventual showdown with his evil nemesis, Moriarty. Tim, whose acting career included seven series of television comedy The Brittas Empire, plus a regular in Allo, Allo, created Watson: The Final Problem in collaboration with Bert Coules, the BBC's Head Writer on the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. And that depth of knowledge of the famous Baker Street detective clearly shows in this impressive production, which was staged twice in the Lichfield Garrick's studio theatre on Saturday 5th March.
The play is set within Dr Watson's living room in 1894, three years ago to the day that Sherlock Holmes died following his encounter with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. Dr Watson's beloved wife Mary is also gone, due to illness, leaving him alone and contemplating life without them. So, amidst the swell of rumour and intrigue following Holmes' death, Dr Watson decides it is time to set the record straight. Tim does not take on the role of Holmes himself, but instead creates his image and essence through the clever script, notwithstanding the assistance of a familiar cloak and deerstalker hat on a coat stand. The only thing missing was the smell of Holmes' pipe tobacco, perhaps something to consider - if such things are allowed - when Watson: The Final Problem goes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August this year.
The actor relates the story of Sherlock Holmes' final adventure
So, as Watson, Tim tells the story of how the good doctor is invalided out of the war with Afghanistan, makes his initial chance encounter with Holmes, and finds romance with Mary. And then he takes the audience across Europe to the game-changing climax at the Reichenbach Falls. As Bert Coules himself says, Watson is often overlooked for his role in Conan Doyle's books and stories about Holmes. But here, he deservedly comes to the fore in the more than capable hands of Tim, who founded Smokescreen Productions in 2017.
Watson: The Final Problem will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August