Hound of the Baskervilles at Jarrow Hall!

Hound of the Baskervilles at Northern Stage is a playful adaptation of a classic tale

Sherlock Holmes has a Geordie accent in this touring production featuring up-and-coming talent from Newcastle and the North East

A few liberties are taken with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original tale of The Hound of the Baskervilles – which comes as a bit of a surprise.

The new elements added by writer Douglas Maxwell are additions, rather than alternatives, and they make the otherwise faithful rendering more complex – but more fun.

Only four actors perform the tale, directed by Jake Smith, and all are relative newcomers, brought together under the Northern Stage “North” programme. Last year’s “North” project The War of the Worlds was a sell-out last year and I was lucky enough to catch it.

Again, we are in the tiny Stage 3 of the theatre and again, four actors work around, atop and beneath a platform which has me fearful for their safety. All is well, however, I hasten to add, thanks no doubt to their movement director Patricia Verity Suarez. I enjoyed the evocative set, particularly the dollshouse-like hall

By necessity, three of the actors play multiple parts, and switch characters in an instant with a quick off-stage change of jacket and the like. However, for me, the work of Rebecca Tebbit as young baronet Henry (yes, a man) Baskerville, Miss Stapleton, and Laura Lyons was a standout performance.

Each character was distinctly different and yet relaxed within these differences. She is definitely one to watch.

Other members of the cast had a rather more frenetic time with James Gladdon as Sherlock, a disturbed soldier, strange Mr Stapleton and butler Barrymore.

His Sherlock, unlike in the story,  begins as a regretful drunk and reminded me of Christopher Eccleston’s rather manic Dr Who. My husband, a real fan of Holmes, was not happy. However, Sherlock gets his act together and becomes more measured by the end.

This story, however, belongs to Dr Watson, and Jake Wilson Craw has a huge amount to do and say throughout. Perhaps not surprising that he stumbled over a few lines for his initial show.

The fourth member of the quartet is Siobhan Stanley who plays posh Mrs Barrymore and is brilliant as servant Mrs Frankland. She is also Dr Mortimer, the other main character of the original tale, but plays it in a rather over-the-top, very stagey manner. Perhaps this is deliberate – there was certainly plenty of laughter from the audience, who gave the quartet a rousing round of applause for their final bows.

This story, however, belongs to Dr Watson, and Jake Wilson Craw has a huge amount to do and say throughout. Perhaps not surprising that he stumbled over a few lines for his initial show.

The fourth member of the quartet is Siobhan Stanley who plays posh Mrs Barrymore and is brilliant as servant Mrs Frankland. She is also Dr Mortimer, the other main character of the original tale, but plays it in a rather over-the-top, very stagey manner. Perhaps this is deliberate – there was certainly plenty of laughter from the audience, who gave the quartet a rousing round of applause for their final bows.

The production is at Northern Stage in Newcastle until September 23 and then tours a long list of venues including Gosforth Civic Hall, Jarrow Hall, Durham’s Gala Theatre, Hexham’s Queen’s Hall Arts Centre and many more.

Tickets for the performance at Jarrow Hall are available here https://www.tickettailor.com/events/groundworksouthtynesideandnewcastle/279291#

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