Review: National Premiere of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ plays at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

In ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, the classic tale from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, detective Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are once again off on an adventurous and dangerous journey to solve, what may be one of their most famous cases. This version, adapted by Clive Francis in 2008, features four actors playing all the roles while also portraying four distinct fragments of the one and only Doctor Watson. It is the good doctor’s account of how they were able to solve this complex and, at times, terrifying case. Originally produced in the United Kingdom, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse is proud to be featuring the national premiere of this play in their summer season.

For those of you unfamiliar with this detective novel, it centers on the aristocratic Baskerville family and a disturbing curse they have long-feared. Long before this story begins, Sir Hugo Baskerville was killed by a demonic hound sent to punish him for his wicked ways. Two hundred years later his final descendant, Sir Henry, fears a similar fate when he goes back to his family home of Baskerville Hall. It is up to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to solve the case before Sir Henry comes face to face with the monstrous hound.

The cast, directed by Neil Pankhurst, features three wonderful Winnipesaukee Playhouse veterans and one newcomer; all quickly captured the audience’s attention and had them chuckling in no time. While all four gentlemen did an admirable job playing Dr. Watson and their secondary characters, a few of their characters stood out from the rest. Nicholas Wilder excelled as the brilliant, self-described intellectually superior, Sherlock Holmes. John-Michael Breen was strongly versatile in each of his character portrayals, especially as the anxious, yet determined, American aristocrat, Sir Henry. Marshall Taylor Thurman was solid as both the peculiar Dr. Mortimer and sinister Stapleton while Richard Brundage comically portrayed dear old Mrs. Hudson. The use of a multitude of props and accessories enhanced the actors’ portrayal of their many characters. Though there were a few line hiccups, not surprising considering the complexity of the play and the constant changing of characters, the cast was connected and played off each other effectively. Their transitions from character to character and scene to scene were very well done

The technical elements of this show worked wonderfully together: from the custom-made matching suits, to the projections, the props, the lighting and the eerie music and sound effects. The costumes were designed by Lori McGinley, the set and projection design was created by David Towlun, the lighting design was by Graham Edmondson and director Neil Pankhurst created the sound design.

If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, you will certainly enjoy this play. It’s mysterious, humorous and overall entertaining. ©

The show runs just about two hours including intermission. It plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until July 29th with performances Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and a 2pm Matinee on July 24th. There are no Sunday performances. Tickets range from $20-$34 and are selling quickly. For additional information and tickets visit 

Special Events from the Education Department:
Tuesday, July 25th at
6pm – Symposium – Join us for an enlightening conversation led by an expert in a field connected to the production.

Wednesday, July 26th - Talk-back
Following the performance, you’re invited for an informal discussion with the cast and creative team.

Photo credit: From L to R: Back Row- Nicholas Wilder, Richard Brundage, Front Row- John-Michael Breen, Marshall Taylor Thurman. Courtesy The Winnipesaukee Playhouse.

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