” Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”
The play starts on an intriguing note where Sherlock Holmes along with his companion, Dr Watson examines a walking stick in his well-known address at Baker Street. As they formulate theories to reconstruct a man from this clue, they are abruptly interrupted by the owner of this very stick — Dr James Mortimer. His entrance marks the beginning of the case. With him, he brings the news of the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskervilles, a great sleepwalker. What is even more astonishing is that the suspected culprit was neither a man nor a woman but something completely different. It is a gigantic hound, whose footsteps were found 20 miles away from the dead body at the edges of the gate.
An atmosphere of tension doomed over the audience as they tried to comprehend this new piece of information. Although Holmes mocks this assumption, did Sir Charles actually fall prey to something supernatural or was this all just a well-plotted murder?
Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson played by Shantanu Sachdeva and Raghav Batra
The classic duo can never fail to engross the audience. Within just the first 5 minutes of the play, they had the audience on the edge of their seats. With a fresh case just brought to their notice by Dr James Mortimer both of them parted ways temporarily. Sherlock stayed back in Baker Street while Watson along with James Mortimer, accompanied Henry Baskerville, the last heir of the Baskerville reign, to his house for investigation. Sherlock was updated by Watson about each and every detail of the case. From the peculiar habit of the butler and his wife flashing the candle through the window every night to the affair of Henry Baskerville with a neighbourhood girl, Ms Stapleton. Not a single detail was overlooked by Watson as he shadowed Henry closely. Back at his residence, every detail was researched upon by Sherlock whose revelation towards the end left the audience completely astonished. Although a few lines were forgotten by Dr Watson, they were covered up well by Sherlock. They acted phenomenally overall.
Henry Baskerville played by Saksham Verma
Although most of the actors came in pairs due to their characters, this actor, for the most part, performed individually. He was the final heir to the Baskerville reign. He insisted on going to his ancestry house to understand the scenario better. He was the most suspected person as his relative’s death only meant that he could inherit all the Baskerville wealth. Or was he in danger too? All of these queries are answered beautifully at the very end. Although he too missed a line or two, he succeeded in delivering a few punchlines in the most unexpected times of the play, making his character very likeable.
Mr and Mrs Barrymore played by Geetankar Karmakar and Isha Gadgil
Could the butler and his wife who served the Baskerville reign for ages be the reason behind its decline? Was Henry Baskerville their next target or did they have a different motive altogether? The reason behind their peculiar habit of flashing the candle through the window every night remained unknown for the longest time. Suspicion was built every second but the disclosure was nerve-wracking. Although their stage time was minimal Mr Barrymore left us with a deep impact. His creepiness was portrayed really well. The confusion crumpled with emotions was very evident in Mrs Barrymore’s expressions which remarked the beauty of her acting.
Ms and Mr Stapleton played by Sanjana Nair and Shresth Singh
This sibling duo was extremely peculiar. Ms Stapleton insisted Dr Watson to return to London right when she met him but denied it in front of her brother. Her brother just brushed off the topic by labelling her as crazy. Her brother was against her and Henry Baskerville’s affair too. Could this grudge lead to another plot or was all of this just a cover-up. Every scene led to a new question and a new revelation simultaneously, which knit the play together beautifully. The only actor whose accent was discernible was Ms Stapleton. Her acting was so flawless that it seemed like she was not even trying. Mr Stapleton spoke too fast for the audience to understand but his expressions and body language were on point.
The whole play wouldn’t have been half as impactful if it weren’t for the precise sound effects arranged by the team. The atmosphere of the hall changed with every note and our hearts beat faster with every increment to the volume. This review would be incomplete without a special mention to Shubham Kumar, the actor who played the role of Hugo Baskerville. He had a total of one and a half minutes of stage time without a single dialogue but the expression of trauma on his face was remarkable. The performance was extremely powerful for anybody in the audience to forget it.
In an attempt to speak with a British accent, the actors weren’t clear enough in their dialogue delivery. The play was slightly difficult to understand due to some confusion in the lines. The lack of proper pacing of the dialogues made it even tougher for the audience to interpret their content. However, if these mistakes are overlooked, the play was really well-knit.
Written by Tanya Bhatia for MTTN
Pictures by Annwesha Shyam, Vaibhav Aatreya, and Aashrayi Ranjan for MTTN