NODA Review: The Return of Sherlock Holmes
 
By Pat Connor
 
“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” is the third in a series of plays written about the exploits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s well-known character from the pen of excellent local writer Mark Jones, who also found time to direct the play with Rebecca Dickinson as Producer. Set in the modern day, the story follows on from Mark’s last production which ended with the supposed tragic death of Holmes along with his formidable opponent Professor James Moriarty when they fell over the precipice of Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls, in line with the stories of Conan Doyle who also killed off his well-loved character in the same manner. He finally resurrected him in the 1903 story “The Adventure of the Empty House”, after a major public outcry against the demise of his iconic character and happily, in this production we find that Holmes is also still alive due to a plan devised by his brother Mycroft and the secret service.
 
Although there was still some wonderful comedy and pathos in this complex production, I felt overall the story was much darker than the last two plays, as there were some very serious themes and subjects involved in the plot, these included domestic violence, blackmail and revenge, there was also a lot more emphasis on Holmes’s drug addiction. Dr Watson is also finding life difficult as his wife Mary has died, he is also not happy that he wasn’t included in the plan to stage Holmes’s death, but after talking to his friend he decides to move back in to 221A Baker Street with Holmes and Mrs Hudson and begins to start work again on cases. Holmes's brother Mycroft and Inspector Lestrade have both retired, so this time we find him working alongside the secret service rather than Scotland Yard. Holmes and Watson take on several cases which initially appear to be independent from each other but by the end of the play we find they are connected.
 
This was a very cleverly written play with very innovative technical input, and excellent use of the stage area. There was a well-designed set with a large screen at the back of the stage with a door on each side and 2 small sets on either side of the stage in front of the proscenium arch, one was a room in Sherlock’s home and the other was used for different locations by using various props, which along with applicable costumes added to the production. We were kept up-to-date with the action and timeline of the story on the screen and the action was also accompanied by recorded very atmospheric music and excellent lighting which added to the feel and atmosphere of the play. The contribution to the success of this play by all the backstage crew should not be underestimated especially in this type of production.
 
There were some wonderful characterisations and performances all round from the cast, which included an outstanding performance from David Reid in the very demanding role of Sherlock Holmes who has made this complicated character his own. He was complimented excellently by Bobby Walsh as Dr Watson and once again Siobhán Edge gave a superb comedic performance as the irreverent Mrs Hudson. Zoe Jones was very confident in her role and clandestine as Inspector Hopkins; Holmes's secret service contact and Sam Quinn nicely played the mysterious Adaline who was being blackmailed and was one of the characters who connected the cases. There were other talented actors who showed their versatility with great aplomb playing several different roles and characters between them and they included Chris Franic, Valerie Fotheringtham, Matthew Rimmer, John Holland and Rebecca Dickinson who all gave good performances in all their roles. The action was taken at a good pace, and diction was more than satisfactory, although some of the characters were quite softly spoken, however happily the dialogue could still be heard.
 
Congratulations must go to the very talented Mark Jones and to everyone involved in bringing this special excellent piece of theatre and entertainment to the stage which we thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you very much for inviting us

Members of Chorley Little Theatre are celebrating another year of success after bringing home 9 prizes from the regional amateur dramatics awards in Southport recently.

Between CADOS and Chorley Youth Theatre, they had 29 nominations and often found themselves competing against each other.

The Society’s family show Whittington! won Best Pantomime, and also Best Panto Lead for Rob Armstrong as King Rat, and Best Comedy Performance for Ryan Norse as the Elvis-inspired Cat. The show was seen by over 2,500 people in December and it’s the second year in a row they’ve won the top prize.

Chorley Youth Theatre did well, with Best Actress wins for Emma Heyes, Best Play Director for Rebecca Moran (both for the production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches) and the musical Into The Woods winning Best Staging and Best Director for Rachel Offord.

There were also special awards for Best Newcomer Callan Grimshaw-Brown and costumer Sandra Dickinson for her long-standing service to amateur theatre.

Chairman Ian Robinson was delighted with the wins “2017 was a big year for us as we replaced all the seats in the auditorium, so it’s great to get recognition for what happened on stage too.”

The new season of CADOS plays opens with The Return of Sherlock Holmes, a follow-up to the winners of Best Play in 2013 and 2015 so the Society is hoping for another gong at the awards this time next year.

There’s a new case for Sherlock Holmes in a thrilling new play at Chorley Little Theatre from 19th February.

After winning top awards for previous instalments theatre group CADOS are reviving the detective for another adventure, which sees Holmes tackle his trickiest case yet.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes is set in the modern-day and stars Dave Reid as the title character, with Siobhan Edge as Mrs Hudson and Bobby Walsh as Dr Watson. With writer/director Mark Jones the team won Best Play and Best Actor awards for productions in 2013 and 2015.

This new standalone play requires no knowledge of the previous stories, as Sherlock returns from a lengthy disappearance to unravel a web of intrigue that threatens to destroy the world. With assassins on his trail, can he crack the case before it’s too late?

Based on the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the story is updated with modern technology and adult themes but keeps the spirit of the originals. The show is even endorsed by Sir Ian McKellen, who came to watch the last one.

Director Mark Jones describes it as “Conan Doyle meets Quentin Tarantino” and promises the show is accessible for newcomers and previous audiences alike. “Our Sherlock Holmes is easily recognisable from other depictions, and Dave does a brilliant job of balancing the aspects of this complex character.”

The production runs 19th to 24th February at 7.30pm at Chorley Little Theatre. Tickets available from Malcolm’s Musicland or online.

Please note the inside of the latest CLT Brochure ("Listings For Spring & Summer 2018") features the wrong date for Gary Delaney. His show is actually on Sunday 30th September 2018. Apologies for any confusion.

We are delighted that CADOS and Chorley Youth Theatre have been nominated for 28 awards between them at this year's NODA Awards. The awards recognise shows performed between January and December 2017 and winners will be announced on 3rd February.

Here is the full list of nominees:

Best Entertaining/Comedy Performance Pantomime
Ryan Norse as Cat - Whittington

Best Entertaining/Comedy Duo Performance Pantomime
Steven Catterall & Laina Grimshaw Brown - Whittington

Best Male Actor in a Lead Role – Pantomime
Rob Armstrong - King Rat - Whittington

Best Choreographer Pantomime
Rebecca Dickinson

Best Director Pantomime
Steven Catterall & Andy Burke

Best Panto - Whittington

Youth Awards
Best Female Youth Actor in an Adult Production
Eleanor Anderton - Little Voice

Best Supporting Female Actor in a Youth production
Emma Heyes - The Witches

Best Staging Set/Technical
Into The Woods Jr

Best Ensemble
Showcase & Into The Woods Jr

Best Male Actor in a Lead Role Youth Production Drama & Musical
Callan Grimshaw-Brown - The Witches

Best Choreographer- Youth Production
Lucy McManus - Into The Woods Jr

Best Artistic Director Youth Production Drama
Rebecca Moran - The Witches

Best Artistic Director Youth Production Musical
Rachel Offord - Into The Woods Jr

Best Production- Youth
The Witches
Into The Woods Jr

Adult

Best Male Lead Actor - Musical
Bob Halliday - Our House

Best Female Actor in a Lead Role -Drama
Becky Chamberlain - Kindertransport
Steph Threlfall - Little Voice

Best Male Actor in a Lead Role –Drama
Steve Unsworth - Little Voice

Best Ensemble cast
Seasons Greetings
The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)

Best Ensemble cast - Musical
Our House

Best Musical Director
Paul Carr - Our House

Best Director of a Musical Show
Mark Jones & Paul Carr

Best Director Play
Dave Reid - Kindertransport

Best Play
Kindertransport

Best Musical
Our House