Written by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Loveday Ingram
9th December 2017 to 13th January 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Ellie Kurttz
Compared to Christmas/New Year productions staged at the Liverpool Playhouse in recent years, for example, The Haunting of Hill House, I found Baskerville underwhelming.
The main problem was the deployment of just five actors to play the parts of over 40 characters. This rapid interchanging of roles became a mite tiresome and repetitive.
There was also a lack of charisma of the two principal figures, Sherlock Holmes (Jay Taylor and Doctor Watson (Patrick Robinson). Compare their performances to the epic black & white film ‘Hound Of The Baskervilles’ (1939) starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
As you would expect, given the setting of the story on Dartmoor, there were lots of smoke-filled effects. The most amusing was when Holmes lit his pipe with tobacco shag, enveloping the stage with a profusion of fog.
Some of the stage manoeuvres were not very original, for instance, actors pacing on the spot as if walking while the back stage scenery is moving past them, and moving up and down while seated as if being driven by a horse drawn carriage.
Probably what irked me the most was when members of the audience laughed out loud when a bird was shot and sent plummeting to the ground. Maybe they live in Cyprus!!