So you're in the mood to be spooked
over Hallowe'en, are you? And Conan Doyle's The Hound of
the Baskervilles seems just the thing to send shivers down
your spine? Perhaps not if you're going to see the Steven Canny and
John Nicholson version, first developed for Peepolykus, which Bob
Carlton has revived for his cut to the
It's a clever, rip-roaring spoof for
just four performers, who certainly give the audience its money's
worth. Norman Coates' set relies on projections, Christopher
Howcroft's lighting, a single but highly peripatetic door and vast
quantities of dry ice to make considerable impact; you're never quite
sure what (or who) is going to materialise next.
We begin with actors waiting to start
their performance and a whole muddle of announcements to be made to
the audience. Once we're all thoroughly fuddled, the play proper
begins. Jonathan Markwood is Sherlock Holmes and a complete gallery
of strange people (male and female) with whom the investigating duo
come into contact down on Dartmoor. Simon Jessop is Dr Watson, a
medical man always trying to catch up with his friend's quicksilver
thought processes – and failing hilariously in the process.
Then there's Greg Last who we first
meet as a still-wet-behind-the-ears drama school graduate in his
first real job and then proceeds to play most of the parts not
already taken by Markwood. Accompanying on the piano predominantly
with Puccini and Prokofiev (when not providing sound effects and
doddering away as assorted country bumpkins) is Steven Markwick,
who gives a new meaning to “melodrama”.
It all adds up to a thoroughly
enjoyable night out. But be careful of witches and hellhounds when
you make your way across the car-park – just in case...