Hound melodrama a howling success at Queen's Theatre
PUBLISHED: 15:20 01 November 2012
©Nobby Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
»Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes is really in right now with trendy, modern remakes starring Benedict Cumberbatch on TV and Robert Downey Junior in the film franchise.
The Queen’s Theatre in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, has produced its own version of the Conan Doyle classic The Hound of the Baskervilles as a howling, comic melodrama.
So, does it work? By God, Holmes, it does.
Three members of the theatre’s Cut to the Chase company play 16 roles between them.
This needs quick changes, clever prop handling and spot-on timing.
It has the chance to go very horribly wrong.
But Jonathan Markwood, Simon Jessop and Greg Last play a blinder, along with accompanying pianist Steven Marwick who gets roped in as a yokel.
They make a complex choreography look, oh, so simple.
In the first act the actors break down the fourth wall for a chat about the safety curtain.
I found that curious but it was merely a clever plot device for the opening of the second act, which I am not going to reveal apart from to say it had the applauding audience collapsing with laughter. At one point Markwood, as Holmes, manages to be both characters he is playing in the same room at the same time.
Jessop, as Watson, and Last, as a lovelorn Baskerville, are excellent too.
I particularly liked the steam room, train journey and face in a picture scenes. The set is stripped down with just a back projection of black and white period photos.
There is plenty of howling, mists and gunshots while the piano adds a clever silent film feel, upping and downing the tension. John Nicholson and Steven Canny are the writers and it is directed by Bob Carlton.
The show runs until November 17. Tickets are £16-£24.50. Call the box office on 01708 443333 or book at www.queens-theatre.co.uk