Wed 19 Jun

Do you own a magnifying glass?

John Nicholson is both the director of The Hound of the Baskervilles and he adapted the story creating this spectacularly theatrical comedy coming to Theatre by the Lake 9 AUG - 14 SEP, 2024. We asked him why...

The Hound of the Baskervilles has gripped imaginations since it first appeared in print in 1901. This West End hit adaptation from famed physical comedy theatremakers Peeplolykus (John Nicholson and Steve Canny) takes all the familiar elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale through an exhilarating ride of ridiculously funny performances, witty dialogue and buckets of chaos.

Expect the unexpected in this side-splitting Sherlock story.

So we asked John a few questions… to find out why!

Why do you want to do this again?

Steve Canny and I have rewritten our original 2006 script to make it funnier, sexier and feel more contemporary. Since that time there has been an explosion of ‘Goes Wrong’ style theatre. With this new script however, we wanted to go back and delve deeper into character comedy, clown and dramatic tension.

Why do you want to do it here in the Lakes?

TBTL has such a great reputation – everyone who does a project here tends to fall in love with the theatre. I visited briefly when I was working on One Man Two Guvnors and thought it would be fantastic to have the opportunity to make a show here. Although Baskervilles is set in Dartmoor, I think the wild beauty of Cumbria will be inspiring.

What is so special about this production that you can’t wait for our audiences to see?

We have a simply fantastic cast. Their particular comedic sensibilities are exactly right for this production. I have worked with designer Fi Russell and composer Peter Coyte a great deal and always find them hugely inspiring.

Do you have a favourite line?
“We’re lost in an incestuous, South American menagerie of intolerable dead ends.”

When did you first discover Sherlock Holmes and what story do you remember reading first?

When I was about 12 I was home alone and ended up watching the Basil Rathbone film of Baskervilles on the telly. It scared the life out of me. I didn’t read any of the stories until I thought about adapting Baskervilles in 2006 with Steven Canny. At that point I read them all.

What made you want to turn The Hound of the Baskervilles into a play?

I had completed a project with Sam Mendes’s company – Neal Street Productions and they said ‘Got any more ideas?’ This was pre Cumberbatch Sherlock.

Have you got a hound of your own… if so what and if not, why not?

A hound is a proper pet isn’t it. Especially the ones with fluorescent eyes. I’d like a border collie but then I’d probably want to buy sheep. It wouldn’t be straightforward.

Do you own a magnifying glass… that one might be more for our own personal amusement!

I don’t own a magnifying glass. More tempted to buy a telescope.