Review by James Mukheibir
The Genesian Theatre's production of The Hound of the Baskervilles brought Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mystery to life with a creative twist. With a three-person cast comprising Alyona Popova, Oliver Harcourt-Ham, and Kate Easlea, this adaptation was a carnival ride, bringing the fun and irreverent energy that makes indie theatre special.
The three actors had a vibrant chemistry, feeding off the unusual interactions in the script. Their dynamic was impressively supportive, as they elevated each other's performances instead of competing for the spotlight. This seamless camaraderie made the show a success by committee, with their shared energy carrying the more bizarre aspects of the show.
Alyona Popova's performance stood out for her remarkable range. She portrayed a suite of memorable characters in the play, each with a great depth of personality. Both Harcourt-Ham and Easlea are in fine form, crackling with chemistry as their characters bumble through attempting to solve the mystery of the Hound. Their straight-faced delivery of the stream of hilariously absurd bits was wonderful to watch while creating a genuinely touching connection between Watson and Baskerville.
The production's innovation, despite limited resources, was truly commendable. The team worked wonders with minimal sets and props, developing creative solutions to balance the eerie mystery and absurd comedy, which could have easily missed the mark. The lighting and sound design and execution by Michael Schell were particularly on point. The show's fun and fresh adaptation of the traditional story breathed new life into a well-known tale. The creative choices by director Richard Cotter and unique meta-theatre elements of the adaption came together into a clever reimagining of the script, meaning that even those familiar with the original story were pleasantly surprised.
A highlight of the performance was a fantastic dance sequence that deserved its own round of applause. The hypnotic routine, pulled off flawlessly by Popova and Harcourt-Ham, was an unexpected magical moment. It was a true showstopper that left a lasting impression on everyone present and had the audience cheering.
The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Genesian Theatre was a wonderful, lighthearted adventure. The strong performances and innovative, well-executed production design made this unique adaptation a true standout. With its fun and fresh approach, this production breathed new life into a beloved classic, leaving the audience thoroughly entertained and captivated throughout.