A Triumphant Return for Common Ground’s Sherlock Holmes

Common Ground returned to the Corn Hall with another of their post-Christmas shows. It’s something that looks like becoming something of a traditional, with packed houses for both performances of their further adventures of Holmes and Watson.

The Warlock of Whitechapel was a gloriously silly affair, pitched somewhere between a panto and one of Ernie Wise’s plays, that came complete with groan-inducing puns, costume changes, cross dressing, and just the hint of sauce. Impressively staged, and accompanied by music, it’s worth remembering that Common Ground write all their own material. Apart from being straightforwardly impressive, this allows the company to tailor productions to the cast. While occasionally this means poking fun at themselves, it for the most part plays to their considerable strengths.

Julian Harries and Dick Mainwaring slipped effortlessly into the lead roles, aided and abetted by the Emily Bennett, Joe Leat and Roger Parkin. The cast obviously had at least as much fun as the audience, wrestling manfully with an episodic plot that rarely made much sense but was crammed with wit and good humour. This was unpretentious regional theatre at its creative best. 

David Vass