Sherlock Holmes is one of the UK's most enduring literary figures which is why it's always great to see the great detective get brought to life, especially on a local stage.

Blackeye Theatre, who brought us the atmospheric, highly polished and taut 'The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' returned to The Wyvern with another equally-as-slick production - this time adapting Arthur Conan Doyle's final Holmes novel 'The Valley of Fear'.

A small cast of five rattled through a host of characters to bring to life Sherlock Holmes and his companion Watson as they attempt to solve the murder of Jonathan Douglas, and battle against Holmes' biggest enemy, Moriarty. 

We see two narratives taking place side-by-side with Holmes and Watson's investigation in the present day, and through a series of flashbacks (indicated by a song), we also see the story of the mysterious Jack McMurdo, who joins a criminal gang in Vermissa, Texas. 

Swindon Advertiser: Sherlock Holmes holding a chess pieceSherlock Holmes holding a chess piece (Image: Blackeyed Theatre)

Writer/Director Nick Lane said "The thrill for me, being a huge fan of crime fiction on both sides of the Atlantic, was in exploring the different tones of the two narratives; points where they mirror one another, points where they diverge...

"It was a challenge, but an exciting one. We'll be working with choreographers and fight directors as well as a composer to create something thrilling and visceral. Thematically, both stories explore loyalty – but to say more about that might give away a twist I'm keen to keep to myself."

He gets the balance of this largely right, thanks in part to some simple, yet clever staging and the stellar work of his cast. 

Little tricks are used to identify different characters, from small costume changes to certain props, and each actor has to impressively deliver multiple accents and mannerisms. 

The standouts though were the two leads, who were reprising the two titular roles from a previous Sherlock adaption of 'The Sign Of Four'

Luke Barton's Sherlock Holmes was played in a very similar way to Matt Smith's Doctor Who, with an almost manic gleefulness as he goes about deduction. 

And Joseph Derrington as Dr John Watson, who also narrated the whole performance, brought a tired weariness to Holmes' beleaguered friend and aid. 

The chemistry between the two certainly served as a highlight of the show.

As far as I'm concerned, Blackeyed Theatre are 2-for-2 when it comes to innovative, entertaining and edgy stage adaptions of classic literature.