Hound Of The Baskervilles
Chorley Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society
Chorley Little Theatre
So much happening, on and off stage.
It opens with a bang. Images flashing onto a screen, the sound of a thousand drums thundering round the auditorium, BANG! WOW!
Then, cut to the quiet flat in Baker Street that suddenly appears at the side of the stage.
Mark Jones has taken the plot and characters from Conan Doyle’s original story, replanted them in the age of the smartphone and, sticking pretty faithfully to the original story, has turned an old fashioned Victorian mystery into a Marvel comic extravaganza.
Fortuitously for him, Dave Reid has the benefit of Basil Rathbone’s aquiline features to look perfect for the part of Holmes but he also adds enough sardonic humour to the part to steal the show. The verbal battles in the opening scene, between Holmes and the down to earth Mrs Hudson, are a comedy classic in themselves with Siobhan Edge, as the chatelaine, being the perfect foil for the detective’s histrionic flights of fancy. Robert Walsh, as Dr Watson, is too softly spoken to make the same impact but he is despatched by Holmes to Baskerville Hall where a Dr. Mortimer (Robert Walsh) has revealed how Sir Henry Baskerville (Martin Clarke) is frightened for his life since the death of his father, believing he is being pursued by a giant hound as in the family legend.
In the drawing room of the Hall, Watson meets the excitable Jack Stapleton (an over the top performance by Steven Catterall) and his sister, Beryl (Vanessa Winter-Lamouurne) and is served by the portly butler, Barrymore (Andy Burke) and his wife (Moyra Welsh) after which it is all action.
Moving beds in the night and ghostly apparitions followed by a night on the moors with searchlights beamed on the audience, smoke enveloping the aisles, beasts howlng and gunshots exploding. Conan Doyle meets Tarantino!
Indeed, much credit for the play’s success must go to the backroom crew. The speed of the set changes, a magnificent set for the Hall drawing room and the amazing sound and lighting effects were all stunning.
Aided by the legendary Inspector Lestrade, curiously now turned into a woman (Kath Townsend), Holmes solves the case and the true nature of the Hound is revealed.
With some tightening up, this new version of ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’, written and directed by CADOS’s own Head of Artistic, Mark Jones, could well emulate their success.Ron Ellis