The Sign of Four

Blackeyed Theatre’s production of The Sign of Four: with ( L to R)  Ru Hamilton Zach Lee, Joseph Derrington, Luke Barton, Stephanie Rutherford, Christopher Glover

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four, Lighthouse, Poole

You can generally rely on Blackeyed Theatre to deliver quality drama and this new stage adaptation of Conan Doyle’s classic second Sherlock Holmes novel does not disappoint.

The Sign of Four offers a wonderful mix of everything we have come to expect from fiction’s most compelling detective and it’s been perfectly distilled and blended by adaptor and director Nick Lane.

First and foremost it is a story to delight Sherlock fans old and new. Set against a fearsomely complex tale of greed and betrayal that has its origins in the Indian uprisings of the mid 19th century, it finds Holmes investigating missing treasure and a murderous and revengeful plot in Victorian London.

There’s a fine cast led by Luke Barton as the brilliant, charismatic but infuriating Holmes and Joseph Derrington as his long-suffering sidekick Doctor Watson, a wonderfully evocative set and superb costumes, sound and lighting.

This version of The Sign of Four remains in large part true to the 1890s original with Watson dipping in an out of the action as the narrato. It also uses to great effect multi-instrumentalists, a quirky score and cleverly choreographed scene changes.

With a disappearance, murder, secret deals and stolen treasure to investigate Holmes and Watson have their hands full but there is still time to add some dark truths about the British in India, an idiot Inspector from Scotland Yard, a mysterious man with a wooden leg, and much more.

There’s even cocaine for Holmes and love for Watson as he meets Mary Morstan (Stephanie Rutherford), his wife to be. 

My only criticism is that the end to this otherwise excellent play seems rather too meandering for a production that has until that point flowed at a satisfying pace.  

*The Sign of Four runs at Lighthouse, Poole until Saturday 2nd February.

Jeremy Miles


© Jeremy Miles 2022