Fans of Sherlock Holmes will want to don their deerstalker caps and cue up the clues… the stage is set and a play’s afoot!
The Arena Stage’s production of BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY, written by the award-winning Ken Ludwig, is a comical and contemporary take on the popular and delightful classic. Throughout the show, the famous fictional Baker Street sleuths are overwhelmed by farcical props, absurdly enjoyable set changes, and the expeditiously fluid nature of the show’s three versatile actors. All of these elements come together to form a hilariously successful meta-reference that adds humor beyond the traditional Sherlock wit.
As the lights came up and the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” began, the style and creative set of the show are illuminated. Although at first distracting, a copious amount of stage lights stand on both sides of the theatre which allows for dramatic effects but also creative light design that cues to the audience important elements of the plot. The innovative light design captures the mystery’s settings without having audiences sit through many distracting lights-out scene changes. The backstage crew notoriously made cameos throughout the show, humorously breaking the 4th wall to keep this fast-paced whodunit moving.
Gregory Wooddell keeps audiences on their toes with his magnetic stage presence and talented performance as mentally deranged yet brilliant Sherlock Holmes. Equally impressive, Lucas Hall is able to capture the proper air of the good doctor, John Watson, whose constant dose of adulation for Sherlock, lowers his personal guard against the insanity of his methods. As the play’s main storyteller and largest consistent character on the stage, Hall believably reacts to the caveats of this modern rendition of the mystery, keeping character but allowing for laughter. With zeal, Watson hopes to gain the praise of Sherlock Holmes as the plot thickens and he tries to find the truth behind a family curse that dooms its newest heir, Texan Henry Baskerville. Sir Henry Baskerville, Stapleton and Miss Beryl Stapleton are played by Michael Glenn, Stanley Bahorek and Jane Pfitsch, who double for various roles in a hilarious fashion that is a must see!
Endowed with almost-superhuman ability to focus on the essential details of the case, Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is a splendid time of suspense that all Sherlock enthusiasts can appreciate.
Lead image credit Margot Schulman for Arena Stage