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Veni Vidi troupe tune into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale with help of ingenious radio spin

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»This Veni Vidi Theatre Company production provides an ingenious slant on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale.

As the audience, we played the part of a live studio crowd, watching a radio programme being put together during the medium’s hey-dey.

The set is spot on – ribbon mics hang from the ceiling, old fashioned special effects units litter the stage and myriad wires snake around the room in a way that will be familiar to anyone who has worked in radio.

It’s convincing stuff – Henry Douthwaite as Sherlock Holmes was imperious both on and off the mic. When not ‘in character’ he whirled around the stage like a dervish, conducting the special effects teams with wild gesticulations.

There are plenty of nice touches - quite apart from the period costumes and the decor in the theatre bar, when actors are off mic they smoke, drink and fling discarded pages of script to the floor like so much used tissue.

The way the action broke for the interval was so clever it took the audience a few minutes to work out they could leave.

Holmes and Watson are both brilliant, Barrymore hammed up the part too much for my taste (although most people seemed to enjoy it) and Dr Stanley was delightfully sinister.

It’s a well executed play with some spellbinding performances and solid technical ability. I’d love to watch it again with my eyes shut, to see how well it would work as a genuine radio production.

* The Hound of the Baskervilles is at Theatro Technis, in Crowndale Road, NW1, until Saturday, May 12.

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