Eastbourne's Hound of the Baskervilles: Very faithful but tongue in cheek -

After around two years away from the stage, it was just fantastic to get back to it, says Niall Ransome who plays Dr Watson among other characters as the Original Theatre company bring The Hound of the Baskervilles to Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre from October 26-30.

The Hound of the Baskervilles_Niall Ransome, Jake Ferretti, Serena Manteghi (c) Pamela Raith
The Hound of the Baskervilles_Niall Ransome, Jake Ferretti, Serena Manteghi (c) Pamela Raith

He and the company promise an “exhilarating collision of farce, theatrical invention and wonderfully comic performances to offer a brand-new twist on the greatest detective story of all time.”

“To be fair to the writers, they have stayed very, very faithful to the plot of the story of Holmes,” says Niall. “You are certainly getting the classic story, but it has got a huge tongue in the cheek!

“And it all comes from just the three actors. We are doing all the characters, and it celebrates the fact that there are just three of us, changing characters, changing costumes, doing everything.

“We come out at the beginning as actors and we have a dialogue with the audience telling them about the story and that we are a group of three actors that have decided that we are going to stage The Hound of The Baskervilles and that we are going to do it as a brilliant piece of theatre.

“It is not like on TV or film. We are embracing the idea that the whole audience is going to believe in the story we are creating.

“We are not on the moors of Dartmoor, but we are going to take you to them on the stage.”

The company opened in Cambridge in September: “And it has been fantastic being back.

“After the last year and a half to two years that we have had, it is not just about being on the stage but going into all these different theatres and meeting the staff and the front-of-house people and the marketing people and seeing just how hard they have worked to make sure that their theatre has kept going.

“And the audiences have been great.

“I understand that some people might be cautious about coming back, but I would say that all the venues have done everything they can to make sure that everything is as safe as it possibly can be, and I would just say to people to come back to the theatres.

“We all need a good laugh after all we have been through.

“The pandemic was shattering. When your job is so dependent on an audience being there in the room and when the hope of that is non-existant, it was just so difficult.

“It was just amazing how our industry took control of making shows and putting them online and somehow finding a way to carry on.

“A big part of being an actor is wanting to be there in front of an audience in a show telling a story, and I was lucky that I was able to do a few things online. But I am a writer as well as an actor and I spent quite a lot of time at my desk. It gave me an opportunity to finish some projects that I wanted to finish. I am making a film, and I have spent most of 2021 planning it. It will be called Bad Ladz. We hope to start filming in April, but these things take an incredible amount of time.

“But I made another short film called Jump and we finished filming just before the lockdown and that gave us chance to edit it and to really spend time on it and it is out on the film circuit at the moment.

“But I just think one of the big things we learnt from the pandemic was patience…”