A new twist in the tale is far from elementary

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With The 39 Steps, The Canterbury Tales and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), HumDrum has given a new interpretation to many classical texts.

And the amateur dramatics group is back with a new take on one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Lewis Bailey, Tim Sturton-Davies and Jonathan Fost as Doctor Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville and Sherlock Holmes.

Lewis Bailey, Tim Sturton-Davies and Jonathan Fost as Doctor Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville and Sherlock Holmes.

Running at The Spring, Havant, from Tuesday until Saturday, the famous tale is set on spooky Dartmoor where a hound is terrorising residents. But can Holmes uncover the truth?

Jonathan Fost (Holmes), Lewis Bailey (Dr Watson) and Tim Sturton-Davies (Sir Henry Baskerville) are the three actors who star in the piece.

The initial director, Sam Sampson, previously directed Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off which won the Guide Award for Best Amateur Drama Production, and suggested the play after watching a production of it.

But he was put in hospital with toxic pneumonia after just four rehearsals, so another director had to be found.

Artist director of HumDrum, James George, took over.

He says: ‘It’s an Edwardian horror, and the script we’re using has a life of its own. It’s very funny and there’s a lot of running around and becoming different characters because there’s only three of them.

‘The rehearsal process has evolved, so there’s some of Sam’s stuff in there and some of mine. But the cast is working well together and Sam did some brilliant casting.’

James also made the late decision to make Watson gay: ‘There were hints in the script and eventually we sat down at rehearsal and just accepted that the creators of this piece clearly had a different angle on the way Watson feels about Holmes than is normally portrayed.’

Included in the production is a post-interval recap – a sprint through the first half, complete with props and movements, in just two-and-a-half minutes: ‘As part of the show, the cast feel like they’ve been insulted by a member of the audience that the pace is slow.

‘So they think right, cop this, and they do the whole first act very quickly just before the second act. They cut out everything but the very essential parts.’

Tickets cost £8 to £9 from The Spring, Havant on (023) 9247 2700 or go thespring.co.uk.