dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Famous detective Sherlock Holmes takes on a comic twist
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective story The Hound of the Baskervilles is given a comic twist in a production coming to Coventry's Belgrade Theatre in February.
A hit on the West End, the production, adapted for the stage by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, blends farce and sleuthing as the famous detective Sherlock Holmes sets out to solve a spine-tingling mystery. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly in mysterious circumstances, rumours abound that a giant and deadly hound is loose on the moors. Can Holmes and his faithful companion Dr Watson discover what killed Sir Charles and protect Sir Henry, the Baskerville heir, from the beast?
Presented by Original Theatre Company and Octagon Theatre Bolton, The Hound of the Baskervilles plays the Belgrade Theatre on February 8-12.
Jake Ferretti, who plays Holmes, says his character is a quandary. "I think one of the stand-out things for me regarding Holmes is how distant he can be, especially to Watson, and, whilst being unimaginably intelligent, his emotional intelligence leaves a lot to be desired. But I kind of love him for that. One of the things I love about the Holmes stories is how dark they are. Though we are not playing it in this way, Holmes is quite a dark character and I love that Arthur Conan Doyle was bold enough to put those ideas to paper."
Taking the part of Dr Watson, Niall Ransome says: "Dr Watson is literature's most famous sidekick. He's been such a fun part to get to grips with. He has a real puppy dog loyalty in this show and it's fun to play him as a total idiot. A competent incompetence really. In the books, Watson is normally the readers 'in' to the story and it's nice to find the fun in him with this. I loved the books growing up and have re-read quite a few of them in the past few years."
And he says of the production: "There's so much I enjoy about it and it's a very physical show for all of us. It's been so much fun finding the dynamics with each other and trying to catch the others out. Trying to surprise ourselves and make everyone laugh, that makes this show exciting."
Serena Manteghi plays a host of other characters including Sir Charles, Sir Henry, local surgeon Dr Mortimer and a 'romantic lead'. And she says audiences should prepare for lots of humour. "My greatest challenge will be trying not to laugh at my comrades' superb comic performances."
All the cast are looking forward to being back on the road and in front of live audiences. "After the last year and a half, getting to visit some amazing theatres and the cities they're in is going to be amazing," says Niall. "It feels like we've all been stuck in one place for so long so it's going to be very exciting to get back on the road. And getting this show in front of different audiences all around the country, each for a week at a time, then packing up the car and onto the next is going to feel brilliant."