The Hound of the Baskervilles. Adapted from the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by F. Andrew Leslie. Directed by Kim Wilson. Tempo Theatre. Belconnen Community Theatre. May 25-27, 30-31, June 1-2. canberraticketing.com.au or 6275 2700.
One of the best-known Sherlock Holmes tales will be brought to the stage as Tempo Theatre's next production. It's in keeping with the company's appetite for mysteries and thrillers.
Director Kim Wilson says there are several stage adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. The one they've chosen is the 1978 adaptation by F. Andrew Leslie (1927-2015), an American playwright who specialised in adapting books and screenplays by others to the stage (his other plays include The Spiral Staircase, The Haunting of Hill House and The Boy With Green Hair).
"We thought this was the one that was generally the better script to work with - it's fairly faithful to the story and we're working to keep it really faithful to the period - as best we can be," Wilson says.
The Hound of the Baskervilles deals with a murder plot and a family curse.
When the story begins, Sir Charles Baskerville has died under mysterious circumstances. The man believed to be his only living relative, his nephew Sir Henry Baskerville (played by Daniel Berthon), has come from Canada to claim the family estate at Baskerville Hall in Devon.
He meets the servants, John and Eliza Barrymore (Garry Robinson and Cheryl Browne) and the neighbours, John (Trent Scharenguivel) and Beryl Stapleton (Madeline Woods) and Laura Lyons (Kirsten Doyle), a woman Sir Charles Baskerville helped set up in a typing business and in whom he took a fatherly interest.
A family friend, Dr Mortimer (Adrian Lovelock) is suspicious about Sir Charles's death and concerned about Sir Henry's safety and the two of them go to London to seek the advice of the great detective Sherlock Holmes (Phil Meddows). Holmes sends his loyal friend and assistant, Dr Watson (Peter Fock), back to Devon with the men to investigate and a strange tale emerges.
"There was a legend about the Hound of the Baskervilles, a huge demonic beast that plagued the Baskerville family," Wilson says. It is said to have killed the original Baskerville, Hugo, an evil man.
Could that unearthy creature be back to terrorise, and destroy, another generation or two of the Baskervilles? Or is there another explanation?
Sherlock Holmes, renowned as the world's greatest detective, is on the case with the help of Dr Watson.