Review: Sherlock Holmes - The Scandal of the Scarlet Woman at Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre

John Goodrum and Karen Henson in Sherlock Holmes
John Goodrum and Karen Henson in Sherlock Holmes
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Falling leaves, grey skies – and a brand new play from the ingenious pen of John Goodrum. All signs that autumn is well and truly here.

Following his previous popular foray into Sherlock Holmes territory, this year’s very loose collaboration with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, at the Pomegranate this week, is The Scandal of the Scarlet Woman – and what a tangled web Mr Goodrum weaves out of Sir Arthur’s original short story.

The bones of the plot of Scandal in Bohemia are still there, but with extra layers. Enigmas abound from the start. Who is the mysterious tramp, and why is he in church during a wedding? Why are the bride and groom masked, and in a tearing hurry?

And later, what is Holmes’s interest in the secret wedding? And who, exactly,is the masked bride?

With a cast of only two (John Goodrum himself as Holmes, Karen Henson as retired opera singer Irene Adler) and David Gilbrook in voiceover as the absent Watson, the whole convoluted tale of letters, photographs and royal indiscretion emerge. The Victorian parlour setting is beautifully done, Miss Adler’s costumes are pure delight (though Mrs Hudson should have given Sherlock’s tweeds a good press), and they keep a surprise or two right until the end.

And of course, Sherlock Holmes never fails.

Well, hardly ever.

Sherlock Holmes - The Scandal of the Scarlet Woman continues at the Pomegranate tonight (Friday, October 24) and tomorrow at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday, October 25, at 3pm.

LYNNE PATRICK