Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Arthur Conan Doyle Appreciation Society

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
3 stars
There's a moment in Peepolykus' new show when a medium calling on the 
creator of Sherlock Holmes attempts to enter the room through the 
window. As the supposed arbiter of the spirit world clambers through 
the opening, he slips on the ledge, almost coming a cropper on the 
street below. The fact that the performer playing the spiritual con-man 
is clearly on his knees hanging on to a window at ground level doesn't 
prevent at least one first night audience member from gasping audibly 
at his apparent near miss with gravity.

This incident speaks volumes about this comic meditation on truth and 
artifice in which suspension of disbelief is subject as much as form. 
It's framed around a faux lecture by PhD candidate Jennifer McGeary, 
who, along with a couple of actors she's hired to illustrate her spiel, 
takes a step back in  time to meet Dr Doyle himself. The fact that her 
hired help bear a suspicious resemblance to Peepolykus main-stays 
Javier Marzan and John Nicholson is itself a double bluff in an 
extended bag of tricks that features Sherlock Holmes, Harry Houdini and 
the Cottingley fairies.

Orla O'Loughlin's Traverse Company production in association with 
Peepolykus is a knowingly seasonal  parlour room entertainment that 
looks at a need to believe in ghosts, whether they're real or not. At 
over two hours there's probably too much of it, and it could actually 
do with beinh somewhat less formal. There are nevertheless some slick 
sleights of hand at play here, with Marzan, Nicholson and Gabriel 
Quigley as Jennifer having a magic time in a show in which seeing isn't 
always believing.

The Herald, December 11th 2012

ends 

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