Skip to main content

Review of The Hound Of The Baskervilles at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton

And so the next generation of the Looking Glass Theatre begins, lifted gracefully from its former home and planted into the arms of Hazelrigg House and its performance space the glorious St Peters Church. The move is complete and there is perhaps nothing better than a light, fluffy and fun reinterpretation of oft told Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tale The Hound Of The Baskervilles to begin. Created as some sort of chaotic amateur dramatic performance with a feel of Sherlock Holmes does Pantomime, this is indeed a silly entertaining feast.

A cast of just three coping, mostly, with all the roles of the play adds frequently more chaos. Our cast are in no particular order Marvin Freeman, Alex Rex and Katy Corrie. I was sure when I saw the original cast that Freeman would absolutely be Holmes, however this throws a curve ball with Rex as the famous sleuth. It is appropriate though as anyone aware of the story will know that Sherlock is actually quite absent for much of the story of the Baskervilles, so it leaves the authoritative Watson (Freeman) to keep the story moving along. He cuts the mustard as much anarchy surrounds him and leaves Rex to revel in the delights of Mrs Barrymore and her "Spit the dog" dog.

I think perhaps the character of Mrs Barrymore is the best role here and there is no better scene in the play than when she is offered a significantly high chair to sit while she tells her tale. Moments of agony are sustained by the audience as they and indeed the cast end in fits of laughter as she tries to, erm, get comfortable. It's not only a hysterical moment, but also one of impressively clever skill to complete it. A truly magic moment.

Freeman maintains the professional edge in his role and is the constant calm at the eye of the maelstrom. Katy Corrie has to deal with the bulk of the other characters, including briefly cleverly taking over one in the second half. Her moment though is in the role of the snooty Mr Stapleton. Constantly in pursuit of a butterfly or a moth, or perhaps some other nefarious deed?

The set is simple and functional and it matters not that the doors don't close. Clever devices such as the "bog of doom" cloth work super well and offer great comedy material. It was great to see Hazelrigg doubling as Baskerville Hall (use your resources) in the "rare film", and also I am sure some third year University actors were in that film if my eyes didn't deceive me?

Congratulations to adapter Leigh Souter and director James Smith on creaing a great way to begin the new generation of the Looking Glass Theatre. It's a shame that this only makes a brief three night appearance and also misses the weekend spot that I know at least a couple of people are sad about. I hope it rears its hairy head again and a few more people can delight in the admittedly very silly, but oh so fun antics. Howling good fun!


Performance reviewed: Wednesday 21st October, 2015 at the Looking Glass Theatre, Northampton.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles is on at the Looking Glass Theatre between Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd October, 2015.


Looking Glass Theatre also has a website at http://www.lookingglasstheatre.co.uk/


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Bombshell by Contact Light Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

Warning: This review contains spoilers

Whether it is an overwhelming success or mostly a failure, I have over the years grown a huge affinity for fresh new work on the stage. The need to regurgitate and rework old pieces continuously may well get easy bums on seats, but at the end of the night, it has no doubt pleased a few but it hasn't really made any future impact on theatre of the future. Presenting a new play and new work, however, who knows what it might have seeded in the years to come?

Therefore as I watched Bombshell, not only a new play, but also the first offering from a new theatre company, I was thrilled that first of all, it leaned much more towards the success line, and also that over half filling the theatre, it had also put quite a few of the bums on seats as well.

Curiously I have recently read Festen by David Eldridge, and while Bombshell goes much its own way, I felt early on, I (and perhaps others in the audience), felt I had a distinct advantage over some of …

Review of Balm in Gilead, University of Northampton BA Acting (Creative Acting) at Maidwell Hall, Northampton

Watching the production of Balm in Gilead sees my entering the fifth year of following the University of Northampton acting students, and what theatre they have provided over the years!

Balm in Gilead is no less intriguing than anything that has gone before, written in 1965 by Lanford Wilson, you might think this would be a dated item for the young students to be performing, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Set in a cafe (transposed to England from its original American setting), it sees the lives of addicts, homeless and sex workers converge into a mixture of good but mostly bad moments.
My first time in the Maidwell Hall saw an encounter with a brilliantly realised community full of the world of the cafe and the surrounding homes, cardboard boxes and dishevelled beds. As we enter the characters of this world begin living alongside us, addressing us, begging us for money, pushing shopping trolleys around offering off the cuff exchanges with the audience and confronti…

Review of This Evil Thing at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

This Evil Thing written and performed by Michael Mears isn't my first encounter with a play about conscientious objectors, however, it absolutely is the most detailed in its explanation of the subject. A clear and absolute labour of love from Michael Mears, and an obviously very personal thing for him, it leaves the audience pretty much in its grip for the whole of its 80 minutes.

Almost uniquely, our performer Michael Mears is in the theatre stalls upon entry, observing the arrival of the audience and indeed exchanging conversation at times. It's fascinating to see a performer not only there, but seemingly so relaxed pre-show and as he bounds on the stage at show start, this little nugget proves intriguing in itself.

Michael Mears is a captivating presence on stage, as previously experienced on the same stage in A Tale Of Two Cities and The Herbal Bed, therefore it comes as little surprise that he has a confident ability to make a one-man show work, and so well. With the use …