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Padlock Domes; or, Who Stole the Japanese Paper Basket? (Charles Leftwich)
January 7 - ?: Rehearsal Theatre, London

(Information above on performance dates is derived from newspaper archives and is therefore likely to be incomplete.)


A Hitherto Unpublished Episode in the Life of the Great Detective. Skit, by Charles Leftwich. Produced on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Rehearsal Theatre

Padlock Domes…..Mr Charles Leftwich
Dr Jotson…..Mr Hubert Woodward
Billikin…..Master Andrew Baird
Mr B. Lowe Parr…..Mr Leslie Kyle
Professor Notoriety…..Mr Wilfred S. Stanford
Murgatroyd Parr…..Miss Grace Vicat

Few stories offer such rich opportunities of burlesque as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. Indeed, the wily detective himself, with his sleuthhound proclivities, his wonderful powers of deduction, his unerring instinct, and his unfailing tact, is an easy prey to the lampoonist.

Mr Charles Leftwich, who introduced him to a fashionable audience at the Rehearsal Theatre, Maiden-lane, on Tuesday evening under the name of “Padlock Domes,” has done his spiriting gently. He has given us an investigator who snaps at a corollary, or builds up a thesis of crime on the instant. True, his deductions are on the two-and-two-are-four principle, and his conclusions irresistibly simple, perfectly obvious, and inevitably true.

His faithful friend, Dr Jotson, is obsessed with admiration of him. Indeed, no exponent of the value of intuitive perception in any corner of the earth could have handled the startlingly sudden disappearance of Mr B. Lowe Parr’s wastepaper basket with such comic certitude as Padlock Domes.
We discover him in the gayest of patchwork dressing gowns, seated in his apartment in Bakerloo-street. He for a moment deceives his fidus Achates, Dr Jotson, by his protean proclivities, but no one can mistake the inscrutable mystery solver, with his pipe. His meditative mood is disturbed by the agitated entrance of Mr B. Lowe Parr, of the Stock Exchange, who mourns the sudden disappearance of his green Japanese wastepaper basket.

Parr lives at Stoke Fungus, to which town there are at least three or four trains a week. So great is Parr’s agitation that he has hurried up to town in pyjamas and bath slippers. Every minute is of importance, and the next train has to be caught by Domes.

In the second scene he is searching for clues in Parr’s study, which is more or less decorated in purple and green, these Suffragette colours prevailing in the socks that the unhappy and distressed owner of the paper basket is wearing. “What is Life Without a Vote?” a legend prominently displayed in the study, gives the imperturbable Domes a clue at any rate to the political views of Mrs Parr, who speedily sets any doubt at rest when, mounted on a table, she makes a militant speech in her best Trafalgar-square manner. The story of Jack and Jill admirably illustrates her stories.

Mrs Parr’s hat, it appears, has been irretrievably ruined at a Suffragette demonstration, and as her dress allowance has been stopped, she has nothing in the way of headgear to go out in. Brilliant idea of Domes! He sends a bogus telegram summoning her to a meeting, and waits events. She must go at once, and when she reappears, wearing the green Japanese paper basket as a hat, the final triumph of Domes is reached, and the curtain falls on reconciliation and restoration.

The incidents of Padlock’s “defective” career are brightly touched upon by the author, and the satire of his cocksure methods as they were detailed in the “Strand Magazine” is laughably effective. The constant admiration and wonderment of Dr Jotson also strike a comic note, which might, however, be more accentuated in the business with Professor Notoriety (our old friend Moriarty), the “it” of crime.

Notoriety, with a marrow-freezing determination to be revenged on the great baffler of crime, is invariably “held up” by the green limelight. “That green lime again!” will have droller significance when the piece enjoys the advantage of greater possibilities in the way of lighting effects.

The company worked loyally together, and in consequence the burlesque trifle went with wonderful smoothness. The author played his own creation of the detective, doing fairly well. Mr Hubert Woodward was responsible for effective work as Dr Jotson; Mr Wilfred S. Stanford was vigorously melodramatic as Notoriety; and Mr Leslie Kyle, with a good comic make-up, realised cleverly the mock-serious vein of B. Lowe Parr.

Miss Grace Vicat was decidedly amusing as the Suffragette wife, the burlesque harangue on the woman’s vote question making quite a hit.

To the pleasant concert that preceded and followed the sketch Miss Dorothy Clarkson, accompanied by her sister, contributed highly appreciated violin solos; Miss Van der Beeck charmed in two German songs; Mr Selwyn Driver, at the piano, had to lengthen his humorous entertainment in answer to an encore; and Mr B. Franklin Taylor afforded much pleasure by his excellent singing.

The Era, Saturday 11 January 1913
found at www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk