This is a tale of mystery and imagination.

The ensemble cast, its writer Ken Ludwig and the ghost of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle provide the mystery . . . while we the audience use our imagination.

Spot-on lighting, atmospheric sound, and back-scene animation and video projections along with the multi-use of props become supporting players.

It is tale where horror and humour are bedfellows in the dark and Gothic Baskerville mansion dominating the moody, misty moors.

Patrick Robinson is Sherlock’s side-kick who acts as narrator - what you might call a Watson guide.

(Oh please yourself – it’s Christmas) The legend of the Baskerville beast is ideal for Holmes (Jay Taylor) or as Dr Watson might say - an ideal Holmes exhibition of sleuthing.

The three other members of the cast: Bessie Carter, Edward Harrison and Ryan Pope play more than 40 roles.

I take my hat off to them – after all they take their hats off many times throughout.

There is a lot of dialogue to get through and you need to have your wits about you to keep up with the plot as it unravels before your eyes and ears.

This polished premiere production, directed by Loveday Ingram, is not as fast-paced as previous touring small cast plays such as The 39 Steps and the recent soaring version of Around the World in 80 Days.

But it is every bit as slick and will delight those not used to five actors multi-tasking on a comparatively sparse stage.

I applaud the Playhouse for offering an alternative to panto. One day I would love to see them stage some festive classics in the seasonal mould of A Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life.

For now, it’s refreshing to have the Baskerville canine on the prowl with this affectionate and at times whimsical nod to Hammer Horror films.

Oh and here’s a clue for those who want to know how it ends... the final scene will certainly bring the house down.

Four stars - A Novel Whodunnit.

Available on stage until January 13.

For tickets call the box office on 0151 709 4776.