This is Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic gothic story – but not as you remember it in this family friendly and undeniably enjoyable production.
What a silly, joyous and fun adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles this is. Ok so it might swerve away from the original story slightly – but there is no denying that there is plenty of affection towards Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and story to be found nonetheless.
Adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, much of the joy behind this production comes from the attention to detail in the script which keeps things light – which might strip the gothic creepiness out of it but makes it accessible for the whole family to enjoy. The comical quips which are on display are delivered with sheer perfection by all of the cast (Jake Ferretti, Serena Manteghi and Niall Ransome) – keeping the audience guessing as to what is going to happen next. in particular, I loved the moments in which they broke the characters they were playing in the show to directly converse with the audience making them feel more involved – even when watching at home. One moment that stands out in this regard, involves one of the cast reading out a tweet from someone watching at home making fun of the production – and forcing the cast to perform act one again (in a hurried way of course) – the sheer energy that is on display is incredible.
Meanwhile, directed by Tim Jackson this production has been very cleverly put together – using plenty of creativity and minimal props to allow the audience to use their imagination and the cast to apply a number of different techniques including mime to ensure that the audience is entirely focused on what is happening. It is this attention to detail that keeps the audience thoroughly engaged – such as the way in which Doctor Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville take the train is staged, bringing to mind the silent films of the 1920’s – by using a range of influences it keeps the production consistently interesting.
It does have to be said that at times it feels as though the story is lost a tad behind the silliness and fun, while some of the humour can get a little bit repetitive particularly in the second half – but it never lacks on the entertainment factor.
Meanwhile, the cast themselves are clearly enjoying themselves as they astonishingly switch characters with seamless ease (although I would be very much surprised if it was as easy as it looked!). I loved the new chemistry Jake Ferretti and Niall Ransome brought the relationship between Sherlock and Watson – Ferretti still maintaining Sherlock’s known brusqueness but tinged with affection for Watson, while Ransome’s slightly dim and insecure Watson ensures the balance between characters are just right. Meanwhile Serena Manteghi offers plenty of enthusiasm as Sir Henry Baskerville who she plays without a Canadian accent and when asked why she responds drily “I can’t do one” – just one example of many of how the cast are able to bounce off each other perfectly.
This take on The Hound of the Baskervilles is plenty of fun no matter your age or knowledge of the classic story. It offers a refreshing take on it that is sure to delight anyone who is looking for a bit of light hearted entertainment.
By Emma Clarendon
The Hound of the Baskervilles is available to watch on demand via Original Theatre Company until the 31st July by visiting: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/35/the-hound-of-the-baskervilles