Howls of laughter on Dartmoor
The Hound of the Baskervilles, until February 12, Belgrade Theatre
By Ashley Hayward.
This production of Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpiece is certainly nothing like the film starring Basil Rathbone that I watched many years ago.
It is however a hilarious spoof of one of the best known Sherlock Holmes tales and provides plenty of laughs from beginning to end.
It seems that there’s nothing we enjoy more than playing the traditional British stiff upper lip for laughs and this production certainly does that but at the same time it comes across as an affectionate tribute which I’m sure will be appreciated by most Sherlock fans.
The play is superbly delivered by three overworked actors who energetically play multiple parts and have to cope with umpteen set and costume changes.
The actors do superbly well to remember all those lines and movements especially at the beginning of the second act where they decide to show us the first act again only this time at breakneck speed!
The audience particularly enjoyed some of the visual effects such as when the performers appear to be drowning in the marshes or were on a train journey delivered in the style of a silent movie.
It is often said that the secret of good comedy is in the timing and they certainly got this absolutely spot on from beginning to end.
The play is suitable for all age groups and I think audiences will particularly enjoy the way the actors occasionally drift out of the script and engage with them.
The production concludes with an entertaining curtain call where the actors take their bows entering and leaving the stage as the numerous characters we met during the course of the evening.
Amazingly I pretty sure I actually heard the name of this website in one of Sherlock’s lines – what an amazing coincidence!
Photo: Pamela Raith