Sherlock Suite

Moscow, Smolensk Embankment. Sculptural compos...
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People ask me: ‘Oxana, what is this Sherlock Suite you are going to perform at Not Part Of Festival?’ Well, they don’t, really, but let’s pretend. And I say to them (arranging my artistic beret and looking at the distance). Well, it’s really a confession. Of my love for Sherlock Holmes in general and the affect the BBC’s drama Sherlock had on me. I even wrote about it in my Russian-language blog about life in England. I described as as a display of the fact that British spirit is still alive, despite global capitalism’s seemingly complete victory over people’s pockets, minds and souls.

Growing up in the Soviet Union, one of my favourite TV dramas was Soviet Sherlock Holmes starring Vasily Livanov MBE and the late Vitaly Solomin. At that time before we had a video recorder, I tried to catch every re-run of the series on TV and was heart-broken when, for example, my parents’ plans were to go collect wild mushrooms in the forest, and that meant I would miss  Sherlock Holmes.

I never liked any other adaptations of the stories, be they American or British. They just never lived up to the humanity, intensity and humour of the original stories. This fact is recognised by the international community as well. Vasily Livanov’s photo is at the Baker Street’s Museum, and he is one of a handful of not-British nationals to have been awarded MBE.

When Benedict Cumberbatch mentioned it on some daytime TV programme that he is the next Sherlock, I didn’t give it a second thought. It could work, or it much have not worked, my intention was to give it five minutes when it’s on, and then see.

Well, I was hooked from second one. It was everything: the style, the pace, the tone, the acting, the sweet and clever references back to the stories. (I sat with my mouth open through the mobile phone summation and laughed like mad at the final twist about Watson’s brother.

I forgot to mention. In contrast to most people in the West, most people in Russia actually read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s stories (and Ian Fleming’s novels, as well, for that matter).

So… yeah, I became addicted and this is what the eleven poems in Sherlock Suite are about. Food, family, the weather (obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be British), Hugh Laurie, who left us for American pastures, crisps and everything else that gets a mother and a wife through the day – it’s all there.

My brother and a gifted composer Alexander Poberezhny has written the original music score, to which you can listen for free here. We collaborated before, when he wrote the score for my performance of Mayakovsky‘s Cloud in Trousers in the Contact Theatre.

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