March 2017

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Old dog learns new tricks in hilarious hound spoof

The Hound of the Baskervilles

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson

Directed by Lindsey Bishop

Reviewed by Rachael McNaught - Hawke's Bay Today Saturday 1 April 2017

From the mires of Dartmoor, Lindsey Bishop brings the mystery of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic and the sheer mayhem of the Canny and Nicholson adaptation to the Little Theatre of Waipukurau in a play so cunning even the great Sherlock Holmes gets lost.

Most readers will be familiar with the intriguing Holmes tale; the detective and Dr Watson are called to Dartmoor to solve the case of the Baskerville family and their fatal curse.

Now take the original story and have three sensational actors play all 16 characters. Add a backstage crew of six, some very clever set and costume design, throw in marshland lighting, lots of smoke and a random Tweet and it's a recipe for chaos. But it's chaos that is superbly delivered.

The youthful exuberance of Connor Hirst as he hilariously switches between the Lords Baskerville and various locals is perfectly balanced by the comedic timing of the dynamic duo, Owen Potter (Dr Watson and a yokel) and Edward Carlton-Holmes, as not only the famous detective, but no less than seven other people, including two couples.

Removing the fourth wall and making onlookers a part of the show is always a risk, but under Bishop's direction it all happens so smoothly that the line between fact and fiction blurs.

In the end, there is nothing left to do but just sit back and enjoy the ride.

This version of "Hound" is insane, reckless and charming wrapped in a blanket of intrigue and nothing about it is elementary.

The perfect antidote to a dull autumn evening.