If you loved the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award-winning Best New Comedy The 39 Steps, you’ll be delighted to learn there’s a new classic literary whodunit with a comic twist about to hit London. Following a premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and a regional tour, the new stage version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, arguably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known detective story, transfers on 17 April 2007 (preview 16 April) to the West End’s Duchess Theatre, where it’s booking for a limited season to 21 July.

Set largely on Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate a mysterious death involving an ancient family curse and a demonic dog. Conan Doyle’s 1905 crime novel was originally serialised in the Strand Magazine in 1901 and 1902.

Also similar to The 39 Steps, in Steven Canny’s new creation for physical theatre company Peepolykus (pronounced people-like-us), three actors – Jason Thorpe and Peepolykus founding members Javier Marzan and John Nicholson - perform all 20 roles, from Holmes and Watson to Sir Henry, the last of the Baskervilles, and the villain himself – but not including the Hell Hound.

Over the past ten years, Peepolykus has received numerous accolades and produced six devised touring productions, combining verbal and visual ingenuity: Let the Donkey Go, I Am a Coffee, Horses for Courses, Goose Nights, Mindbender and All in the Timing.

Peepolykus’ The Hound of the Baskervilles opened in January 2007 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, where it had a month’s sell-out run, and then continued to Liverpool, Winchester, Watford and Oxford, where its tour finished this past Saturday (17 March). It’s directed by Orla O’Loughlin and designed by Ti Green, with lighting by Jackie Shemesh and sound by The 39 Steps’ Mic Pool. The comedy is presented by Sam Mendes’ company Neal Street Productions and CMP Limited.

Currently at the Duchess, the UK premiere of Glen Berger’s one-man show Underneath the Lintel, starring The West Wing’s Richard Schiff in his West End debut, finishes on 31 March after a run of seven weeks (See News, 14 Mar 2007).

- by Terri Paddock