BENEDICT Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have redefined the Holmes-Watson relationship so radically that we can never go back. To Kill A Canary has obviously recognised that.
But their very 21st-Century friendship is written upon a First World War London. Can it work?
Well, it tries its damnedest to, certainly. We are treated to a blue London, blue backdrop and moving set, even a blue violin.
Every scene and all incidents and plot developments are greeted with a violent sound and lighting effect — The Kenton was throbbing with drones and crashes. If this had been a student revue sketch, or a fringe show it would all have been taken as irony and laughed off. But it appears to be deadly serious, opening with a woman having her throat slit and blood pouring down her white blouse.
The plot pulls together so many strands that it’s hard to keep track of them all but the gist seems to be that a copycat Jack The Ripper is prowling East London again, near a munitions factory, 30 years after the last murder.