Question: in an age of ever-more violent computer games and comic-book superheroes, how do you drag the original Master Detective, Sherlock Holmes, into the 21st century? Answer: in exactly the way that the three-man ensemble Peepolykus are doing at the Playhouse this week.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the biggest and best of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, with a proper villain, a spectral presence on the foggiest of moors, a threatened hero-figure and a man who is not naturally a detective trying to work out what exactly is going on (most of the time it is Dr Watson who is at the forefront of events rather than Holmes himself, detained in London).

What do Peepolykus do with these potent and classic ingredients? Hurl them willy-nilly into an anarchic pot and stir vigorously and randomly. This adaptation by Steven Canny steers the cleverest of paths between faith to the original and mad physical comedy. The audience on the first night - made up largely, it seemed, of schoolchildren doing a project - listened attentively during the sections devoted to plot development, then reacted with cheers and whoops of delight at the ludicrous stunts which arrive with almost metronomic regularity: any given five minutes of almost straight Holmesian discursiveness is swept away on the instant by brilliantly conceived visual humour.

Sherlock Holmes is played - well he would be, wouldn't he? - of course, by the Spanish member of the group of three, Javier Marzan, in absurdist fashion. Resplendent in red furry deerstalker hat, he gives what is almost certainly the finest ever Basque parody of Conan Doyle's creation. He also acts the part of the bearded butler Barrymore, the almost-equally bearded Mrs Barrymore, the female lead - sister of the murderer - oh, and the murderer himself as well! It is a tour-de-force. By contrast, the other two perfomers concentrate on one role apiece: Jason Thorpe as the upright, uptight, threatened Sir Henry Baskerville, and John Nicholson holding everything together as a slightly bemused Dr Watson, bounding endlessly - usually to little effect - across the well-suggested Dartmoor set.

There is an excellently-contrived train journey, an expert lesson in how to sink into the Great Grimpen Mire and a breathtakingly lit one-minute sequence involving a bed and, variously and together, Watson and Baskerville. Throughout the show, Marzan gives a masterclass in how to change costumes and personas in ten seconds flat. There is also a wonderful three-minutes right at the beginning of the second half, the point of which it would be a shame to give away, but which absolutely sums up the quick-wittedness of the performers and the production.

An important part of the attraction of this versatile troupe that is Peepolykus - and one undoubtedly driven by the director of this production, Orla O'Loughlin - is their facade of shambolic amateurism which hides a steely professionalism. During the first few minutes, there was a feeling of slight cack-handedness about proceedings, as if the actors were still getting used to their parts and not quite gearing up to the necessary speed which is obviously called for. You know, I think this was quite deliberate - adding another layer of cleverness and versatility. This is a show that pays homage to the iconic figure of Sherlock Holmes, while at the same time brilliantly debunking (and at one point debagging!) the more risible aspects of the myth. And, what's more, they pull the whole thing off without the Hound itself ever appearing!