This Hound could run and and run... Sherlock Holmes play was 'a fun evening'
- Credit: Pamela Raith
The Hound of the Baskervilles enjoyed a short run at Cambridge Arts Theatre last week. Angela Singer reviews the show.
In answer to a question, one of the multiple characters in The Hound of the Baskervilles says airily: “I’d rather not be drawn.”
“Watson,” says Holmes: “Put your sketchbook away.”
The jokes get better. This is a slick show where three actors play all the parts, changing gender, costumes and accents at lightning speed. At the beginning of the second half, they reprise the first half in a rapid summary.
The plot appears at first more complicated than it is. A vicious sounding hound is suspected of killing the heirs to the Baskerville fortune. Sherlock Holmes, however, suspects that a human might be behind the deaths after all.
All three actors are impressive but the standout performance is from Jake Ferretti as Holmes and numerous others. This is a masterpiece of transformations.
I loved his women – an enormously tall Spanish lady, and Mrs Barrymore, the sobbing, working class wife of the butler. He also plays the butler himself, the bearded Mr Barrymore, and the villain of the piece, Jack Stapleton, an untrustworthy Northerner.
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That should not underrate the contributions of the other two of the trio: Niall Ransome as a fine but understated Dr Watson and Serena Manteghi, who plays several roles with aplomb including Sir Henry, the heir to the Baskerville fortune, whose life is in danger, and various other people from different parts of the British Isles, described as a doctor, a helpful London cabbie and three country yokels.
This show parodies various theatrical styles: melodrama, farce and pantomime. The comedy builds from a gentle start to a gratifying second half and there were whoops from the audience by the end.
The play, adapted for the stage by Steven Canny and John Nicholson for Peepolykus and presented by the Original Theatre Company, premiered at the Arts Theatre, and will go on a national tour.
It’s a fun evening and my suspicions are that it will be well received.