Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Eccentric detective's vibe is very moorish

ANTONY Stuart-Hicks donned a deerstalker and a pipe (and an adaptor-director’s hat) as the legendary Sherlock Holmes for this rendition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

With Coronation Street’s Philip Lowrie as Dr Watson and a tight cast of six in total with some playing multiple roles, this was a highly atmospheric piece, which conjured up the bleak yet beautiful, haunting and mysterious setting of Dartmoor perfectly.

The threats of a supernatural hound, a family curse and a missing serial killer were used sparingly in this tense and spooky thriller, which utilised the power of smoke, lighting and the audience’s imagination. Thus we were able to enjoy Holmes’s clarity of thought and extraordinary powers of deduction, while nervously remaining aware of the potential terrors in the shadows.

The relationship between eccentric genius Holmes and Dr Watson was teased out beautifully, Holmes praising Watson’s reasoning and guesswork as to the provenance of a walking stick, before immediately scything through the compliment by pointing out what clues he’d missed.

However the loyal and long-suffering Watson’s role as something of a guide and carer to Holmes was also revealed, as were it not for him the great detective would in all likelihood be lost to a world of snuff, tobacco and opiates.

As the story unfolded, the actors embraced the myriad of characters and stepped in and out of each with ease.

The costumes, settings and props were pitch-perfect, from Holmes ruminating on his impressive pipe to the dank, foggy and dangerous moor with its eerie rumblings. Elementary, my dear Watson.

Until Saturday.

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