Skip to: Sherlock Holmes: the valley of fear; Morgan and West, Gulliver, Run, Rebel, Person Spec, Howerd’s End, Juggling, Tomatoes tried to kill me, Love it when we beat them, Vermin
It’s a late list of recommendations this time, which is partly because I’ve had a busy January but also also that the things that catch my eye and a bit end-loaded. Some of the things coming that I rate won’t be happing until May or later, and will go into the next list. This means that what I have left over is a shorter list than usual.
My top tier is for plays where I think you can’t go wrong. Not everything is to everyone’s tastes, but if what I describe sounds like your sort of thing, I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.
With much of the interesting stuff happening late in the year though, and few plays that I recognise, this is going to be a short list.
Sherlock Holmes: the valley of fear
It’s rare for me to put plays I haven’t seen into safe choice, but if you want to be certain of a good night of theatre, this is about as safe a bet as can be. I have seen many Blackeyed Theatre productions with several different writers and directors, and there hasn’t been a single weak link amongst them. They are also one of only three theatre companies (the other two being Sparkle and Dark and Pilot Theatre) to have scooped an Ike Award, my equivalent to five stars, twice.
Whilst I haven’t seen this particular play, Nick Lane has previously adapted another Sherlock Holmes Story, The Sign of Four, which was done to a high standard, Holmes and Watson from that last play are reprised in this performance. The faults and prejudices of Victorian society were covered in the last play but didn’t stray into moralising for the sake of it. And Victoria Spearing, whose set design has been pretty much the defining feature of all Blackeyed productions, is in action once again. The bad news is that Blackeyed Theatre tour nationally and their north-east visits are a bit thin on the ground. In fact, the only stop is Middlesbrough Theatre on 10th & 11th February. There also later dates at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on the 18th – 20th May. Both of which clash with other commitments from me. Damn. Visit the north east more goddamnit.