There was a hip flask within his grasp, and his body was covered in snow. Who is responsible? We the audience have to decide in Sherlock in Holmes: Murder on Ice, created by Sharp Teeth Theatre company and available online via the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol.
Personally, I had my own suspicions about those damned barking huskies, who like everyone else on the base are a bit peckish since supplies are running low. But it turns out that I’m way off beam and the huskies are innocent.
Murder most foul has been a mainstream of lockdown theatre and it comes with a formula. The scenario is laid out and the audience gets to question the suspects—here including the Admiral’s recently married wife, Bella, the base’s cook, the zoologist and more. In a sense how well these shows deliver depends predominantly on the robustness of their structure and the gusto of the audience. As with most of these things, this is a show that is probably better done in a group rather than as an individual.
Captain El Sharto played by Peter Baker.
Scripting and the cast’s improvisational skills are also a factor for audience satisfaction and success, and while the former needs some sharpening there are some nice touches including the sly suggestion that some of the base’s inhabitants might be enjoying an arctic roll. The cast cope well and have fun playing up the stereotypes to the hilt. And then a bit more.
Listen, this isn’t going to stick in the mind nor does it in any way push forwards the boundaries of digital theatre, but Murder on Ice does exactly what it sets out to do and only the terminally high minded would complain about that. I’ll be interested to see how well this kind of online experience survives as society starts to open up and we can go to the pub (or-- dare I say it-- a live in-person theatre) but for the moment it serves up entertainment with a light dusting of snow and tongue in cheek humour.