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Review: Sherlock Holmes in Hound of the Baskervilles at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Punchline is heading into new territory by exploring something a little different, reviews. Last week we published our first book review of Rachel Sargeant's The Perfect Neighbours.

This week we explore the art of theatre with the Hound of the Baskervilles, directed by Joseph O'Malley and produced by Jamie Chapman Dixon, launching the second season at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester.

This show brings fast-paced acting to entertain the whole family with fifteen characters portrayed by three men showing the range of their talents. The introduction of modern technology and deviations keep the audience enthralled until the end of the final act.

This adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles features a hardworking trio of versatile actors switching from the three main roles of renowned detective Sherlock Holmes, his associate John Watson and their client Sir Henry Baskerville to a variety of other characters bringing humour to the classic tale.

The play's programme states that it was "written by John Nicholson and Steven Canny for the hit comedy team Peepolykus, this version premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, UK in 2007, where it broke box-office records, before touring the UK and transferring to the West End."

The play begins: "When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on his estate, with a look of terror etched on his face, and the paw prints of a gigantic hound beside his body, the great detective Sherlock Holmes (Herb Cuanalo) is summoned from Baker Street, with Dr. Watson (Hywel Dowsell) in tow, to unravel the mysteries surrounding his death, and investigate the ancient curse of the Hound of the Baskervilles."

Tasked with the protection of the heir to the estate, Sir Henry Baskerville, Sherlock and Watson must uncover the mystery of the legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles and ensure that Sir Henry does not succumb to a gruesome and untimely end, the same fate of his ancestors before him.

If you are a fan of the elusive detective with the distinctive deerstalker hat and pipe, who deduces facts with reason and logic, or if you fancy yourself as a bit of an amateur detective, this one is for you.

This show continues for another two weeks with the final production on Saturday, November 24. Tickets start at £16 with an additional £1.50 booking fee and are available for purchase online or at the box office.

One thing to note for those affected by conditions such as epilepsy, there are some scenes with flashing lights and although the play is family friendly, there is some swearing.

Photo credit: Images of the cast are owned by the Barn Theatre.

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