Serena Mantegna and Niall Ransome. Pictures: Pamela Raith

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Malvern Theatres


Combine the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Stoppard’s 15 Minute Hamlet and Conan Doyle’s epic novel and you get this stage adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Fast moving dialogue, some clever choreography, hasty swapping of costumes and props  - together these bring us  this hilarious and entertaining escape from the pressures of today’s Britain.

The original plot is there. Sir Charles Baskerville has apparently been murdered in perplexing circumstances, so Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are called upon. The next in line to the family estate and fortune is Sir Henry Baskerville who is newly arriving from Canada to lay claim to his inheritance.

Warnings against wandering alone on the surrounding Dartmoor, especially at night, are given to him, as the evidence of a huge hound being involved in the murder of generations of Baskervilles is presented to him. From there the story develops, the plot thickens and ultimately Holmes is needed to solve the mystery.

The plot is familiar to readers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous novel, but the interpretation is new, creative, refreshing and hilarious.  

hound trio

Jake Ferretti, Niall Ransome and Serena Mantegh seem to have been framed

A cast of three actors suffices, as Jake Ferretti (Sherlock Holmes), Serena Mantegna (Sir Henry) and Niall Ransome (Dr Watson) switch with extraordinary speed between roles and costumes to become multiple different characters in the story. Detective fiction turns into farce.

Jake Ferretti anchors the team with a strong performance as the lead Detective: his strong voice, tall presence, and delightful accents help to differentiate his roles. Serena Manteghi has an impish humour that runs through her characters, and Niall Ransome provides a foil with his often understated performance. The success of this production depends on the speed and subtle timing of their interplay and the pacing of the story and show overall. Without these skilful elements the show could fail, but their presence makes the evening a triumph.

The whole of the experience is enriched by the excellent use of lighting and sound effects, the minimalist use of props, furniture and costume suffice to set an atmosphere without slowing the pace of the show. This is a great piece of hilarious and light-hearted entertainment. Accessible to all ages, it is well worth the evening out, and runs in Malvern till Saturday 09-10-21.

Tim Crow


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