A Thrilling Parody.
Spoiler alert in picture!
A Comedy of Terrors - ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’
Written by Peter Wear performed by the British Comedy Company.
Chiswick is, of course, principally known for achieving a fleeting mention in the Six Napoleons. But it now has a second claim to fame. In a local church hall, a packed crowd witnessed the world premiere of the Hound, presented as a radio play by Mr Peter Wear.
Of course, the radio play format avoids all the difficulties of training and shooting a ferocious dog – or indeed, shooting a succession of unfortunate canines if there is to be more than one performance. But with expert sound effects provided by Tiff Wear, including a sound recreation of the dread Grimpen Mire (the suction of a rubber bathroom plunger in a bowl of water), the audience was enraptured and the Dartmoor of Gothic horror brought to life.
This extremely accomplished production merits great praise. It is written with great comic judgement allied to true love of the Canon. The small company, doubling up to take multiple roles, delivered this Hound with pace and a disciplined teamwork which kept the laughs coming. Peter Wear had avoided all the traps which ensnare lesser writers by choosing the simple expedient of reading the story straight from the Strand and drew unsuspected humour from the text.
There is no good reason why Mrs Hudson should not have been an Irish girl, and Flip Webster discovered all the comic possibilities this created, only to emerge later as a true Devonshire lass when she took the part of Mrs Barrymore and as an ingénue cut glass accented Laura Lyons.
Peter Wear gave us a splendidly dotty Dr. Watson with Holmes as a straight man, played with great confidence by Jack Vaughan.
The wonderfully versatile Steve Steen took roles ranging from the Canadian burr of Sir Henry Baskerville to a London cabbie full of zany, right-wing opinions.
Piano accompaniment by Professor Anthony Ingle added greatly to the charm of the performance and providing necessary dramatic impetus to rapid changes of scenes and locations.
This was a marvellous comedy evocation of the Hound, full of gentle British humour. If you can find it at a church hall near you, it is not to be missed.