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Newbury Musical Theatre Society - The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes - The Musical

18th to 20th October 2012.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Revenge served hot

NOS bow out but they'll return as Newbury Musical Theatre Society

The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes - the Musical, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Thursday, October 18 to Saturday, October 20

This musical by Leslie Bricusse did not have the same success as Stop the World I Want To Get Off in spite of having an excellent plot which has Moriarty's beautiful daughter seeking revenge on Holmes for her father's death.

Directed by Jeremy Mann, the action opens with Holmes returning from his assumed grave after the fight with his old enemy at the Reichenbach Falls, a fight which Moriarty did not survive... or did he? Holmes receives several clues implying that Moriarty lives and he sets out to discover the truth for he "finds London gloomy without a foe worthy of his steel".

After a slightly uneasy opening, things improved tremendously, largely due to the lively Irregulars (Shaun Blake, Martin Rogers, Scott Taylor, Darren Blake). This group of lads, always bright and perky, had some of the best numbers and Shaun Blake as Wiggins came into his own - this part was made for him.

The pleasant-voiced Jamie Ledwith successfully took on the large role of Holmes and the dialogue between him and Doctor Watson (an entirely believable performance from Paul Strickland) was slick, very natural and often extremely funny.

As Moriarty's daughter, the vindictive Bella. Claire Bowden, in a stunning red dress, didn't put a foot, wrong and the Million Years Ago duet with Jamie Ledwith was particularly enjoyable.

Shauna Saunders, playing Holmes' housekeeper Mrs Hudson, was a gorgeously awful delight, especially when telling us about her Lousy Life.

Perhaps best of all was the chorus number Apples and Pears; gloriously raucous, colourful and full of good movement, telling of much rehearsal with choreographer Nikki Rogers.

Twenty out of 10 for the superb programme format, but one out of 10 for that appalling wig in the morgue scene - a step too far, even for what was the equivalent of the 'flour and water' spot in a panto - and would there have been quite so many white shawls, bearing in mind the grimy London of the time?

What a change it must have been for the society, now to be renamed Newbury Musical Theatre Society, to be at Arlington with three musicians, led by the perennially brilliant Michael Evans above and in front of them - no gripes about lack of a pit now.

This was the last and very enjoyable production from Newbury Operatic Society, formed in 1922, but there is a new determined air about this group which augurs well. Farewell NOS, we loved you, welcome and good luck NMTS.