An ideal show, Holmes ...

Joe Pasquale stars in Ha Ha Holmes at Rothes Halls
Joe Pasquale stars in Ha Ha Holmes at Rothes Halls

He was crowned King of the jungle in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ and he took to the rink on ITV’s ‘Dancing on Ice’, but now comedian Joe Pasquale is back on the stage and taking on a new character.

At least it’s new to him, as he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and tackles the role of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.

With ‘Ha Ha Holmes! The Hound of the Baskervilles’ coming to Rothes Halls in Glenrothes next week we took the time to speak to Joe ahead of the show.

He told The Press: “I am really looking forward to coming to Fife as I have not performed in Scotland before so it should be a fantastic experience for me and something that I have wanted to do for a long time.

“I just wish I had more time to look around.

“We are in Glasgow the following day which I am also relishing.”

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is a well-known and much loved character who has been portrayed many times over the years.

What is it about him that made Joe eager to take on the role?

“It’s something so different from me,” he said.

“All the roles I’ve played before have basically been me.

“The Nerd was very much me.

“The Producers was me with an American accent.

“Doctor in the House was me in a white coat.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was a layabout version of me.

“But Sherlock Holmes is a real stretch for me. But I’ve loved it.

“I’ve especially enjoyed working with Ben Langley, who wrote the play and co-stars as Doctor Watson, and Andrew Fettes, who plays everyone else.”

As you’d expect from Joe, he brings his own unique and very individual style to Holmes and he undoubtedly brings chaos to the proceedings when Holmes and Watson investigate their most dangerous case yet - hunting down the Hound of the Baskervilles.

He continued: “I like the discipline of it [acting].

“Stand-up is very different, as you can go wherever you like.

“In a play, you have to stick to the script more rigidly.

“What I like about Ha Ha Holmes! is that it incorporates both disciplines.

“You can go off on a tangent about tortoises, but you have to come back to the script eventually.”

‘Ha Ha Holmes! The Hound of the Baskervilles’ is produced by Jamie Wilson Productions.

And it comes back to the stage at a time when Sherlock Holmes has never been more popular with the current crop of films and television series honouring the tradition.

Joe said: “In theory, Holmes is trying to find The Hound of the Baskervilles on the moors.

“There is a very long, involved story about a curse on a family, but ultimately that is pointless.

“It’s all about the deduction.

“It’s a really innovative, really funny play about Holmes’s methods of solving crimes, and audiences will love getting wrapped up in it.”

And why does Holmes work as comedy?

“The stories lend themselves to comic treatment,” he explained.

“The relationship between Holmes and Watson is funny.

“Holmes is the master criminal hunter and Watson is his apprentice – there is great scope for comedy there.

“Look at Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films – there is a lot of humour in them.

“Robert Downey Junior is a fantastic comic actor.

“We’re simply heightening what’s already there.

“It’s Monty Python meets Men Behaving Badly meets Sherlock Holmes.”

The show is brought to the stage by theatre’s funniest parodists and as a result there’s bound to be a little bit of audience interaction in Joe’s performance.

He said: “You have to be cold and analytical as Holmes, but there is no fourth wall in the play.

“You can ad lib, or leave it alone. There is a lot of improvisation.

“If an improvisation works, you keep it in the show. Improvisation is brilliant because it makes every night unique.’’

Given the revival of Conan Doyle’s detective, what does Joe think it is about Holmes that makes the public love him so much?

He added: “He’s such a popular character. People are fascinated by him.

“They used to write to 221b Baker Street asking him to solve their problems.

“Up until 2002, they employed a full-time secretary to reply to all the letters.

“A lot of modern CSI-type dramas are based on this fictional character’s way of deducing crimes.

“In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed an honour on Holmes for services to analytical chemistry and forensic science, making him the only fictional character ever to be honoured.

“I have been watching Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary recently.

“It’s wonderful watching him unravel the crime.

“It’s like Columbo – click, click, click – it all falls into place. We all wish we could do that!”