Occasionally in my day job it’s necessary to come up with puns, mostly about plants. The next time I get stuck, I’ll be reaching out to Emily and Beth Rennie, the writers of That’s a Bit of Sheer Luck! – a rip-roaring and slightly frenetic play filled with more jokes and puns than it’s possible to keep up with. Some prompt the audience to burst out laughing, others result in waves of groans.
This is parody in its silliest form. It doesn’t ease you in, rather the play launches itself with a fast-paced script and over the next 45 minutes does not let up. It can be quite exhausting, keeping track of the mad costume changes or pun-filled narrative. The plot lends itself to the pure silliness – two dogs have gone missing (who let the dogs out, you can fill in the rest) and Sheerluck and Whatsitt are here to help. The real Sherlock Holmes does make an appearance, but Sheerluck has stolen his crown as the go-to detective.
Despite the chaos of the show, the cast do a fantastic job of keeping the pace up. Yes, there’s the odd slip up, but in this context they just add to the humour. Beth Rennie plays the part of Sheerluck with humour-filled facial expressions and a commanding presence, while Emily Rennie wonderfully portrays Irene Paddler, obviously very much enjoying playing this villain. Holmes’ older brother Mycroft makes an appearance, but here he’s known as Mycruft, while his original villain Moriaty is merely hinted at through, you guessed it, more jokes.
With just five actors playing nine roles, you can just imagine the frantic costume changes. A particular highlight is Matt Entwistle’s Constable Lestride, who’s always moving around the stage with his legs as far apart as possible – some risky splits appeared in his trousers as a result (it wasn’t clear if this was intentional, but either way, it’s highly amusing). There’s a real sense that the cast are having fun throughout, so it’s easy to get swept up in the silliness and leave any troubles at the door.
This performance at the Omnibus Theatre was an Edinburgh Preview, before new theatre company, Big Licks, take their show up North for the festival. Anyone who finds themselves catching the show is sure to have a right giggle. It is charming and can appear slightly amateur (maybe intentionally) at times, but ultimately it really is an awful lot of silly fun.
Written by: Emily and Beth Rennie
Directed by: Phoebe White
Produced by: Big Licks Theatre Company
That’s A Bit Of Sheer Luck! – A Sherlock Holmes Parody played at Omnibus Theatre for one performance only. It next plays at Edinburgh Fringe from 22 – 27 August. Further information and bookings can be found here.