Hound of the Baskervilles

Written by Arthur Conan Doyle (Adapted by John Nicholson and Steven Canny)
Directed by Orla O'Laughlin
Liverpool Everyman (20th-24th February 2007)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a very funny and ingenious adaptation by John Nicholson and Steven Canny, and performed by the versatile three actors comprising the offbeat Peepolykus theatre company, of the classic Sherlock Holmes tale by Arthur Conan Doyle.

In all they play twenty different characters, with Spanish-born actor Javier Marzan being the busiest. One minute he is Holmes, the next Jack Stapleton, then Miss Stapleton, and so on...

He is admirably assisted by Nicholson - notably in the role of the clueless Dr Watson - and Jason Thorpe - especially so in his portrayal of Sir Henry Baskerville.

I must admit, before I realised he was Spanish, I thought Marzan was mimicking Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther series of films, so was his demeanour in the role of Holmes.

Despite the resemblance sometimes to a pantomime - particularly in the interplay with the audience - the company pay homage to the great detective by sticking quite closely to the original story.

Particularly impressive were the sequences of people falling into quicksand, the use of a candle from a window to signal to an escaped convict, the sheer desolation of Dartmoor, and the hidden menace of the monstrous hound , which was evoked by haunting sound effects, and inevitably a profusion of fog.

Such was the joyous nature of this madcap play that at the end most of the audience disappeared into the cold night air with a big grin on their face.

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