Theatre critic Paul T Davies enjoyed brilliant Sherlock Holmes classic Baskerville, playing at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre until August 2

WELCOME back Mercury!

With its fantastic refurbishment putting the venue firmly on the map, together with community groups and the superb café, residents can now enjoy the first production since the pandemic.

It’s the perfect show to herald in the new era.

Ken Ludvig’s zany, affectionate spoof of the Sherlock Holmes classic is two hours of inspired silliness, and here it is performed by a cast of comic timing genius.


Ryan McBryde’s inventive direction rings every comic beat and turn from the script and cast.

In fact, it’s a joy from beginning to end.

Richard Ede is a perfect Holmes, capturing his narcissism well, but sending the role up beautifully.

Eric Stroud, as Doctor Watson, has the tough job of carrying most of the exposition of the plot, and does it brilliantly.


But if they work hard, we then come to those listed as actor one, two and three.

They play all the remaining parts between them, somewhere in the region of 50 roles, and act their socks off.

In fact, their socks may be only clothing they don’t change.

Naomi Petersen, taking over at short notice, is brilliant, matched by the hilarious Marc Pickering and Phil Yarrow.


One of the truisms of theatre is that if the cast are enjoying themselves, then the audience will too and this ensemble have a ball.

So many highlights include the hilarious Barrymore’s, butterfly-hunting Stapleton, the Irregulars and the Tommy Cooper “split costume” routine gets a welcome appearance.

The design by Amy James Cook superbly works with the cast, the projections moving in time with them from location to location and chase to chase.

As the cast begin to riff on quick costume changes and sound effects, the laughs double, and this is excellent fun for all the family.

Don’t miss it.

Tickets: Baskerville, Mercury Theatre.