The experience begins at the door. You enter a room humming with excitement, overhearing conversations of people who definitely understand theatre much better than you (or me, really). The theatre was beautiful; gothic arches and wooden beams, stained glass depicting the theatre’s rich history, softly illuminated by warm, round lights.
The Genesian Theatre’s production of The Hound of the Baskervilles is a masterfully creative, vivid adaptation of Sir Arther Conan Doyle’s classic Holmes and Watson mystery. Actors Alyona Popova, Oliver Harcourt-Ham and Kate Easlea’s seamless, vibrant chemistry transports you into a wonderfully comedic universe, a rollercoaster of scenes, all unforgettable. Their hilarious, fast-paced, witty dialogue meets the audience in wonderfully absurd segments that break the fourth wall, in a way that is completely fresh, genuinely funny, and not clichéd. As light and sound marry the subversive dialogue, the comedic timing of this production is unmatched.
Alyona Popova’s Sherlock Holmes is a lovable egomaniac; satirical, quick-witted, extra and the creator of the snarkiest remarks you’ll want to note down for later. Popova’s versatility shines as she takes on various characters, full of depth, different accents (it’s quite remarkable how she did that), personality and punch. Easlea and Harcourt-Ham play Watson and Henry Baskerville respectively; their undeniable chemistry, flashes of tasteful physical comedy (self-pantsing), alongside the rib-tickling contrast of deadpan delivery against a montage of the silliest snippets of action. This play will remind you why you should spend more time at the theatre.
Richard Cotter’s directorial brilliance and creativity takes you on an adventure. With sprinkles of metatheatrical moments and unique takes on classic characters, this reimagined script breathes new life to this old, well-loved story, surprising even those who have read it a million times. The production team is to be commended; the props and set design, though limited, strike a perfect balance between both comedic and mysterious scenes, providing foggy eeriness and the Baskerville mansion fireplace as required. The sound design and lighting was excellently orchestrated, well-executed, and compliments the tone of each scene and bit of dialogue. Their effort, care and commitment to innovation, creativity, and the art of theatre is palpable.
This play will undeniably surprise you — whether it be unexpected humorous interruptions filled with audience interaction, or a hypnotic, magical dance routine that may invoke a false memory of a moonlight soirée (one can dream), this play truly captivated the audience every second. The incredibly strong performances, brilliant production design, hilarious script, and absurdly wonderful bits makes this play an extraordinary, standout, must-watch.
This is one of those special plays where each element of theatre was written its own witty, unique personality. A laugh-out-loud, two-hour long stretch of happiness, joy, and all the memorable moments you want for a lovely, warm weekend night this windy winter. Book a ticket, grab your coat, and head into the city for this one.
The Hound of the Baskervilles will be performed at Genesian Theatre until the 17th of June.