Northern Stage expanded its NORTH programme from actor training to staging and touring, which is where I first witnessed the production of The War of the Worlds. Not only did it sell out, it had a very successful tour. Now we have the second offering from NORTH – The Hound of the Baskervilles. Originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle it was adapted by Douglas Maxwell for Newcastle Northern Stage and ran there recently from 11 – 23 September 2019.
I love Sherlock Holmes anyhow so I was looking forward to seeing how they would adapt this for Stage 3 in the basement of Northern Stage. The four-strong cast took on multiple roles and did not disappoint. It is one of the best plays I have seen in a very long time.
Jake Wilson Craw played a focused and emotive Watson, who at times was rather humorous. Not the stuffy character we normally see and it was a breath of fresh air. It was great to see the chemistry between him and Holmes. James Gladdon took on Sherlock and portrayed him at his worst and at his best. No holding back on the darker side of Sherlocks’s personality, his confidence and on the flip side, his vulnerability, both fueled by his alcohol and drug use, but refreshingly an original Northern accent which somehow made him more realistic and more intense.
Rebecca Tebbett was fantastic in the role of the naïve, young Henry Baskerville and also played the delightful Miss Stapleton, while Siobhan Stanley was superb as sturdy, tough Dr Mortimer and as Mrs Franland, the local socialite.
The set was imaginative and inspired. Using a slanted table partially covered in grass (the moor) and propping up a model of Baskerville Hall, it performed as desk, train and landscape. Set in such a small space alongside the inventive and eerie special effects it was impressive to watch with its mix of storytelling and impassioned acting.
If you didn’t catch this supernatural delight at Northern Stage then make sure you catch up with it on its Autumn Tour. It will be hitting Jarrow Hall on Friday 4th October, then two nights at Gosforth Civic Theatre the following week with many more dates at venues from Glasgow down to Hull. Tickets for the Tour range in price but most are around £12.