WHEN an uplifting musical about the late Nelson Mandela arrives at the Canberra Theatre later this month, the audience may well be jumping with joy. For “Madiba the Musical” has a heart-warming message of renewal […]
“THE Hound of the Baskervilles”, featuring Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes, has had numerous cinema, radio and theatre adaptations since it was first published in 1902.
Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville at his estate in Devon. Sir Charles appears to have fallen victim to a family curse in which his ancestor, Sir Hugo, was killed by a giant hound, possibly of supernatural origin.
Tempo’s production, directed by Kim Wilson, has some nice performances from the cast of nine. Peter Fock is a fine Dr. Watson, capturing the period style and character very well. Phillip Meddows has the right physical look as Sherlock Holmes and plays him with an amusing haughtiness.
Sir Henry Baskerville is played by Daniel Berthon with the confidence and style that gives him believability as an aristocrat. The other actors in the supporting roles all give nicely drawn characterisations. Some of the less-experienced performers need to learn to project their voices and take more care with their diction.
Producing this adaptation is a challenge as the action has to move from Holmes’ chambers in Baker Street, London, to Baskerville Hall in Devon. With the limited staging facilities available at the Belconnen Theatre, the director has understandably opted not to change the set for the different scene. This might be confusing for audience members who don’t have a program.
American, F. Andrew Leslie, has written an uninspiring adaptation. There is very little action and too much exposition by characters on stage telling us what happened off stage or in the past. It sounded more like a radio play but it was written for stage performance.
Director Kim Wilson kept the pace going nicely and the actors picked up their cues quickly, but it’s a very static production and he needed to find more ways to break up the long conversation sequences.
Despite the adaptation’s flaws, this Sherlock Holmes story is ingenious and Tempo has given it an entertaining production.