out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

A production by the Crime and Comedy Theatre Company created on the 120th anniversary of the story, this is presented as a radio-play live on stage. Starring Colin Baker, Terry Molloy and Dee Sadler, it’s been adapted and directed by Martin Parsons.

One of the most famous cases faced by Sherlock Holmes, it’s actually based on Conan Doyle’s third novel, and sees the detective consulted by Dr Mortimer on behalf of her friend Sir Charles Baskerville, who has just inherited the title after the strange, untimely death of his father. She reveals the dark, centuries old curse on the family and asks for Holmes help to prevent the new heir suffering the same fate as the last.

Maybe it’s the concept, the classic story or even the way the actors and director convey the story, but there is something so warm and old fashioned about this production. A merging of a theatrical play and a radio mystery broadcast, it works as both. In fact, I enjoyed closing my eyes and listening to the sound effects of the countryside, the birds, the animals and even the weather. It gives a much richer atmosphere to the play and adds an extra dimension to the story. Such sounds are not immediately apparent with your eyes open, it really evokes the eeriness of the moor, and brings the story to life. In fact, for people who have loved ones who are blind or partially-sighted, this is an excellent opportunity to see things from their perspective, to share a performance you can both enjoy equally. My late mother lost her sight in old age, I think she would have loved this show.

There’s a vein of humour running through it to relieve the tension, some tongue in cheek, and plenty of in-jokes and references to other stories for Holmes fans, including one of the most famous and chilling lines from the stories: “Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound.”
The cast of seven are excellent, and a special mention must go to Martin Parsons for the adaptation. Although a Holmes fan I’ve never really cared for this story, but it’s made me reassess my opinion. Go see it, enjoy it, maybe even close your eyes, but remember, whatever you do, don’t try to cross the moor at night….

You can find out more about this production here

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