Sherlock In Homes is an online, interactive murder mystery. People connect over the Zoom video-conferencing software, and then watch and interview the actors of a murder mystery to test their sleuthing skills. But is it good? Let’s have a look.
I was approached by someone from Sharp Teeth Theatre, asking if I’d like to review their online murder mystery, Sherlock In Homes. Now although I haven’t written a review for it yet (because I haven’t finished it), Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars is one my most-played and most-enjoyed games of the year. I’m a massive mystery fan, so the answer was a no-brainer for me – a resounding yes! In the interest of transparency, I’ll say here and now that they gave me the ticket for free, but that hasn’t influenced my opinion at all.
An Online Murder Mystery?
My first reaction was “I wonder how on Earth they do an online mystery”. If you’re wondering the same, wonder no more. At the time of your performance, you join a Zoom meeting. Zoom, if you’ve been living under a rock in 2020, is a free video-conferencing application that’s ballooned during lockdown as a way for friends and family to stay in touch.
When I joined, myself and the other amateur sleuths were greeted by the first of the characters, the very enthusiastic Inspector LeShart. He laid out the structure for us, giving us some background and early evidence. All of that combined with the map and character profiles sent prior to the show via email all set the scene, which for us was a murder at the circus!
The Game Is Afoot
After the introductions, we were split into groups and assigned to break-out meeting rooms, and one-by-one the suspects joined us via video chat, and as a group we got to ask questions and make notes in our notebooks. The actors were fantastic, full of character and really funny. As well as sticking to the script and facts, they were really quick-witted and ad-libbed in character perfectly. I don’t want to give away too much here, as I’m hoping plenty of people will want to experience it for themselves, but the costumes, voices and mannerisms were just brilliant. Not pantomime, but just on the right side of larger-than-life to remind you that you’re in the midst of a performance.
Suspects came and went, and our little group slowly wrestled some insights from our questions. Maybe it’s a result of the kind of audience for this sort of thing being like-minded, but all of the other guests were having fun and being polite too. I felt like I knew all of them well enough to have a drink with by the end of things.
After 45 minutes or so, we were all brought back into the main meeting to chat and have a few minutes to go and make a cup of tea, then the inspector revealed some new evidence and recounted the facts the different groups had managed to discover so far. This was a really nice touch, it kept everyone in the loop, and meant everyone could fully enjoy the second half.
Closing In On A Killer
The second half was more of the same, but armed with more evidence and plenty of dodgy stories to ask the suspects about. It was really good how everyone really got into it, and no-one tried to be the ‘alpha’ and take control of the group. I appreciate that could really vary, but for me it made for a really nice atmosphere, and let us all enjoy it.
After the second round of questioning we were all brought back together again for the final vote, and the big reveal – whodunnit!
It’s quite hard to write a review of the mystery itself, for fear of giving away too much. Let’s just say that the story led us down a lot of different avenues, and even as late as the final interview our little team was still undecided. The story was really well put together, and it was clear there was a lot of thought and care put into the writing. Even though 80% of us got the wrong answer, it was still so enjoyable.
The actors were absolutely brilliant. Funny all the way through, with solid characters, and as I said before, even their improvisation stayed in character the whole time. The only negative I could even possibly pick is that one of the performers had a bit of a dodgy connection, leading to some lost audio and video. But when all I can criticise is someone’s wifi connection, I think that says something.
I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. I did the family-friendly 4pm show, and there was still enough nuance in there to give me the giggles more than once, I’d love to see how the adults-only shows go. As I said right at the start, I was lucky enough to get my ticket for free, but having done it once now, I can say without a word of a lie that I would pay to do another one in a heartbeat. It was an hour and a half of fun, interaction, and a great whodunnit mystery, presented by thoroughly likable actors and well-realised characters,
If you’re in any way a fan of mystery and fancy doing something a bit different, please, head over to Sharp Teeth Theatre’s website and have a go. You won’t regret it.