The Sign of Four at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth REVIEW: ‘The overall spectacle is slick, stylish and seamless’

The Sign of Four by Blackeyed Theatre
The Sign of Four by Blackeyed Theatre

I must confess to knowing little of this particular Sherlock Holmes story, however the hugely talented Blackeyed Theatre company present a solid, stylistic rendition of this tale, the second of the Holmes novels.

A fantastically realised set adds an Indian flavour to proceedings and hints at the intricate narrative to come. Set in 1888, the story involves stolen treasure, mysterious gifts, secret pacts and a boat chase.

Mary Morstan is introduced for the first time in the stories along with allusions to Holmes’s drug habit.

Accomplished direction from Nick Lane sees Luke Barton give an assured performance as the infamous private detective and Joseph Derrington as the ever-tolerant Watson. Barton is a commanding, calm Holmes and is equally matched with Derrington who is a strong, confident Dr Watson, ensuring their camaraderie is believable.

The leads are supported well by an ensemble cast who also provide the musical interludes which punctuate humorous and dramatic moments superbly throughout. Special mention must go to Ru Hamilton who shone in different guises, displayed a talent for innumerable accents and played a multitude of instruments.

Christopher Glover provided the best laugh of the night as the inebriated inspector, displaying great comic timing. While also being a capable actor, Stephanie Rutherford also flaunted her inexorable musical skill by providing much of the accompanying soundtrack.

The pace and dynamism dipped slightly in the second half, but the overall spectacle is slick, stylish and seamless.

Until Saturday.