Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

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‘The Wrong Crowd’ theatre company

A play called ‘The Girl With The Iron Claws’*  is on tour.  Dates and venues are:

Manchester Royal Exchange. 30th May – 2nd June Book online or call 0161 833 9833
Drum Theatre, Plymouth. 6th – 9th June. Book online or call 01752 230 440
Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate. 14th – 16th June. Book online or call 01423 502 116
Hull Truck Theatre, Hull. 20th – 22nd June. Book online or call 01482 323 638
E4 Udderbelly Festival, Southbank Centre, London. 23rd – 25th June. Book online or call 0844 545 8282
the egg, Bath. 29th – 30th June. Book online or call 01225 448 844
Everyman Theatre Cheltenham. 2nd – 4th July. Book online or call 01242 572 573
The Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford. 5th – 6th July. Book online or call 01483 440 000
The Gulbenkian, Canterbury. 7th July. Book online or call 01227 769 075

This is a play that The Jays and I went to see at the Edinburgh Festival last summer.  It was billed as being “based on a Norwegian folk tale”, which was not encouraging to me.  We went pretty much because we were told it would definitely be suitable for children but would also be interesting to adults.  We were captivated. 

It has singing in it, but it is not a musical.  People don’t stop what they are doing and start singing for no apparent reason: the songs are part of the narrative and extend the story.  There is cunningly simple but spectacular puppetry.  If you go, I advise you to sit as close to the stage as possible and feel part of the action. 

Throw away your 3D glasses and go and see a live performance by people who really know what they are doing.  And hurry up!  The first performance in Manchester is tonight. 


* Any of you who have heard my poem, ‘Walking In Scotland’ will have heard of this play.

Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall


As if you didn’t know already, this starts at 9pm GMT on Sunday 15 January 2012. 

Everybody knows that, in the ending of the original story, Holmes and Moriarty both fell to their deaths, but the reading public revolted, and it was confirmed to Conan Doyle (who should have known better) that Holmes was Too Famous To Die. 

Holmes had to be resurrected.  The reassuringly lame story that Conan Doyle came up with was that Holmes had thrown Moriarty over the edge of the falls with a move from a Japanese martial art called ‘baritsu’.  He had then deliberately let Watson think he was dead in order to protect them both from reprisals by Moriarty’s henchmen. 

I think that there are going to be more programmes in this adaptation beyond this series.  I certainly hope there are, and I gather that many other people, mostly female, do so too.  I also think that far too much characterisation has been invested in the figure of Moriarty for them to get rid of him. 

The outcome will not be revealed until at least the beginning of series 3, but I predict that both Holmes and Moriarty will survive, despite every effort being made to ensure that the audience thinks both of them are dead.


A cursory inspection of John Watson’s blog shows that the writers have been wantonly casting away stories in a Twitter-style game of puns that might have the hash tag #sherlockholmestypo.  The most obvious example is ‘The Geek Interpreter’, which featured as a bit of decoration in the first episode of the current series.  Another is ‘The Speckled Blonde’.  Holmes expresses irritation when he looks over Watson’s shoulder to see him typing these blog entries, almost as if he had read the original and found the puns groanworthy. 

I have not found any reference to ‘The Red-headed League’.  In my opinion, ‘The Red-headed League’  is just about the best among the original stories.  I am guessing that the BBC is going to dramatise it in the next series.  In the 1985 dramatisation with Jeremy Brett as Holmes, Moriarty features in the background as the evil spider at the centre of a vibrating web of deceit. 

This is my fearless statement.  Both Holmes and Moriarty will survive Sunday’s episode.  There will be another series.  That will feature a dramatisation of ‘The Red-headed League’.  If I come up with a brilliant suggestion for the #sherlockholmestypo alternative title, I’ll let you know.