The Hound of the Baskervilles, at the Jack Studio Theatre (review)

This will feel like rubbing salt into open wounds, because if you don’t already have a ticket to see The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Jack Studio Theatre, I’m afraid it’s not looking good.  However I am writing this in an advisory way for next year, and I don’t just mean for the Christmas show, which ends its run on Sunday 8th January, an extra date which was added due to public demand.  If you have missed out this time, I beseech you for your own sakes, don’t miss out next time!

The show is an absolute joy. We went along without preconceptions, which made it even more enjoyable.  The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous stories which features Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr Watson. There have been many versions on the small screen and on the radio, both in the UK and abroad. Sherlock Holmes and Watson are such cult characters that, as one of the lines reminds us, the name of the show alone will sell the seats – and for some reason Sherlock Holmes is especially great at Christmas time.

hound-of-the-baskervilles-press-3

Adam Elliott and Joey Bartram.                                                                                      Photo: Tim Stubbs Hughes

You might already know the plot. Sir Charles Baskerville is dead and Holmes and Watson are trying to unearth the mystery of what happened. There are clues and rumours about a giant hound-like creature which has been heard and its traces left behind on the moors of Dartmoor. You probably don’t know this version of the story though, adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson (who have had their shows performed at the Jack before).  It has just the three actors, who are all brilliant – Joey Bartram, Adam Elliott and Andrew Fitch – and they take you on a ridiculous journey to Dartmoor and back – and back again.  There is intrigue, there is cross-dressing, there is excellent facial hair, a proper Inverness cape, and of course some wonderful Holmesian headware. It is silly, it is enjoyable and it is very very funny.

The Jack is an intimate theatre already, and every seat was full on the night we went to see it.  You could feel and hear everybody enjoying it as much as I was.  The atmosphere was so convivial that I spoke to my neighbour (and I don’t just mean the one I’m married to) and to a group of older ladies in the pub in the interval.  I was assured by one of them that every Christmas show is fantastic and that they come every year without fail.

The production team even fixed it for us to have real life fog as we left the theatre!  Perfect for this thriller set on the moors!

You may already be a regular at the Jack, in which case I don’t wish to teach you or your granny how to suck eggs, or indeed mince pies at this time of year.  But if you are new to the idea, and particularly if you are like me and local to SE4, then be clear that this local studio theatre above the Brockley Jack pub is not for amateur dramatics. It is an award-winning creative space which welcomes new and old writing and which consistently puts on theatre of this calibre.  Even if you don’t get to see The Hound of Baskervilles (and I feel a bit sorry about that) then please do look up the listings for the Jack Studio Theatre, and make sure you investigate for yourself in 2017.  Pardon the pun.

I attended The Hound of the Baskervilles on a press ticket.
The Hound of the Baskervilles plays until 8th January 2017. 
Tickets are sold out but see for yourself at this link.
For full information about the Jack Studio Theatre, visit the website.

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