Centrepoint, Palmerston North

09/08/2014 - 30/08/2014

Production Details

When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on his remote estate, in eerie, seemingly supernatural circumstances, the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes is called in to investigate. With his devoted assistant, Dr Watson, in tow, Holmes must apply his famous powers of deduction to unravelling the terrifying mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles. 

…that is, if the actors can stick to the script! Three actors play a multitude of characters between them, juggling lightning fast costume, character and scene changes with madcap hilarity! The Hound of the Baskervilles is Arthur Conan Doyle’s most popular mystery featuring the world’s greatest detective, but retold in a way you have never seen before! 

Director Ross Jolly (The Motor Camp) describes The Hound of the Baskervilles as a “fast and furiously funny extravaganza, a la [2011 production] The Thirty Nine Steps”.

The actors tasked with bringing an array of weird, wild and wacky characters to life are described by Jolly as a trio of “comic luminaries” – proficient in silly accents, abundant innuendo and wrestling with absurd props and surreal situations. Phil Vaughan (often recognized as “the guy off the Countdown ads” and last seen at Centrepoint in Peninsula) is sporting some impressive facial hair as Sir Henry Baskerville (among others); Simon Leary (The War Artist) will be putting his extensive improv experience to good use as Watson; and Guy Langford – a newcomer to the Centrepoint family, a recent graduate from the reknowned École Philippe Gaulier, Paris – will be stepping into the legendary deerstalker of Sherlock Holmes (and more!).

“We’ve been having tremendous fun in rehearsals – they are an enormously talented cast who are just bouncing off the walls, ready to put all that energy onstage” says Jolly.

“This is hilarious physical theatre, irresistibly entertaining…a damn good night out”.

Show Times:
The Hound of the Baskervilles opens on SATURDAY 9 AUGUST and runs until SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER. 
Performances run Wednesdays at 6:30pm; Thursdays – Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 5pm.
Please note there is no Sunday performance on Sunday 10 August.

Special Performance: 
$20 Tuesday: Tuesday 12 August, 6:30pm
All tickets for this performance $20. Bookings for this performance only open on Monday 11 August at 9am. Bookings through the box office at 280 Church Street or by phone 354 5740. Tickets are allocated on a first in first served basis and we regret we cannot accept email or answer-phone bookings for this performance. Limit 4 tickets per booking.

Prices:  $38 Adults, $30 Seniors, $30 Under 30s,
$28 Community Service Card Holders, $18 Students,
$68 Dinner & Show.

Sir Henry (et al): Phil Vaughan
Dr Watson (et al): Simon Leary
Sherlock Holmes (et al): Guy Langford

Writers: Steven Canny and John Nicholson 
Director: Ross Jolly
Set Design: John Hodgkins
Lighting Design: Marcus McShane
Costume Design: Gillie Coxill

Theatre ,

Hilarious hijinx

Review by Adam Dodd 14th Aug 2014

As the applause dies down, there is sweat on the actors’ brows and tears speckling several audience members’ eyes. If you think that this is a good sign, you have deduced correctly.

Written by Steven Canny, Executive Producer BBC Comedy, and John Nicholson of the award winning Peepolykus [people-like-us] theatre company, The Hound of the Baskervilles provides a gripping two hours that will romp past with seemingly boundless energy, thrills and spills.

Director Ross Jolly describes The Hound as a “fast and furiously funny extravaganza”, a description that I fervently find no fault with. 

The play opens with a single baleful red ember – Sir Charles Baskerville’s last cigarette, this being moments before being set upon by the mysterious hound and succumbing to his tricky ticker, a hereditary affliction. Twenty seconds in and I’ve already seen a half-dozen facial expressions culminating in death. Fast and funny. 

The script is ripe for caricature and the acting delivers.  

Played by Simon Leary, Dr Watson is wonderfully obtuse, earnest, at times petulant as he finds himself confounded by the twists and turns of not only the case, but also his relationship with Holmes.

Guy Langford’s Sherlock Holmes himself commandeers attention; He’s witty, inflated and self important, but (understandably) without the deeper pathos of Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuth. But it isn’t Langford’s Sherlock that wowed me, it was his energetic portrayal of a menagerie of others, switching back and forth.

Phil Vaughan’s Sir Henry Baskerville is one of the sweetest chaps ever to be targeted for assassination by eerie pseudo-supernatural means. Vaughan is wonderful to watch on stage, with an easy presence both in and out of character that can establish rapport with a raised eyebrow and a nod of the head. Sporting muttonchops and flirting with the front row didn’t hurt either.

The physicality, accents and rapid interchange between characters put me in mind of the League of Gentlemen, while the banter and interjected references have the lively tang of Improvised and Devised Theatre.

The troupe’s experience with Theatre Sports is put to excellent use, with props and John Hodgkin’s set – evocative of an ink illustrated paper theatre – alike utilised to absurdly shape the trio’s journey through a variety of visually hilarious hijinx.

The pace, maintained throughout the production, is facilitated with crisp transitions between the scenes and some delightful musical segues. Not to neglect a particularly clever device at the beginning of the second half, which serves to recap the action and prime both cast and audience for the action to re-ensue.

Obviously, I’ve enjoyed myself. If you feel the need to bark with laughter, you should.


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