On Monday 17th June, I travelled from Manchester to Chorley on the train, to see a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles at Chorley Little Theatre. The play was written and directed by Mark Jones and produced by Rebecca Dickinson for Chorley Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society.

I have to say…I wasn’t expecting very much, as I knew it was an amateur production and a brand new adaptation written by one of their own. It had the potential to be really quite bad. And you know what…it really wasn’t. I was genuinely pleasantly surprised, and spent the entirety of the performance grinning to myself, laughing in the appropriate places and generally enjoying the whole evening.

It was set in modern times, but was sufficiently different from recent adaptions “Sherlock” and “Elementary” to stand on its own and put a new spin on things. For a start off, they were going with the concept of an older Holmes, somewhat stuck in his ways – listening to LPs on an old record player, purposely calling tweets “twats”, and nods to the canon with his frequent drug abuse; compared with a younger and slightly cooler Watson, but who looked up to Holmes and wanted to learn from him. I kind of got the impression of Holmes attempting to pass down his skills and talents to his young companion, whom he certainly regarded with a great deal of fondness, frequently referring to him as a “dear young thing”.

Speaking of canon nods, there were enough to satisfy a Sherlockian, with certain lines and aspects from other novels and stories brought into the tale, such as the fact that Watson was about to get married to Mary, and a hint of Moriarty right at the end that had everyone hooked and wondering whether there would be a sequel (there will be, incidentally).

There were a couple of slightly weaker performances amongst the cast, but they in no way detracted from the general all round good fun of the production. It’s always important to have a strong Holmes, in my opinion, and David Reid’s Holmes was absolutely spectacular. He delivered his lines with the confidence, arrogance and humour I’ve come to expect from the great detective and it was obvious he’d done a lot of preparation and research into the role, and that he has great talent as an actor. He really knocked my socks off, to be honest. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this good.

I hung around in the bar afterwards and got to meet some of the cast and production team, and I will definitely be attending the sequel, which is an adaptation of The Final Problem. I’ll advertise it here on this blog a few months or so before, so that anyone in the area will have a chance to get tickets. It will be worth going to see, I’m sure.