British authors, Steven Canny and John Nicholson have adapted Victorian thriller, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles, for the stage, as a spoof. Whether you love the brilliant detective, Sherlok Holmes, or whether you find his arrogance stifling, you will agree that this material renders itself for parody, and Director, Robert Kelley has once again surpassed expectations. When Holmes asks Watson (holding a walking stick), “what is it” and Watson responds, “I assume, it is a walking stick”, Holmes says, “Never assume anything, Watson”. Laughter from the audience continued in the halls, long after the show was over.
Great kudos go to the Scenic Designer, Andrea Bechert, and Costume Designer, B. Modern, for superbly designed sets and costumes that lend themselves for quick changes, while adding to the humorousness. Three men play over 20 different characters who are constantly interacting, and each of them come in their own zany, wacky costumes and props. It is no small feat to pull off that level of theatricality. It is absolutely hilarious to watch bold butler’s bushy beard pushed to the top of his head, as he comes out as the man’s wife. There are lots of scenes where the props are masterfully utilized, like when Watson and Holmes go to speak with Sir Henry, while he is in the sauna, or when Watson and Holmes find the butler’s wife looking out of the window and they grab it from her hand and then try to get out of the tiny window.
But in the end it is the impeccably timed, perfectly synchronous, and absolutely zany antics of the three men with boundless energy, that carry the show. Each of the three men, Darren Bridgett (primarily as Sir Henry Baskerville), Michael Gene Sullivan (primarily as Dr. John Watson), and Ron Campbell (primarily as Sherlock Holmes), play several other characters, in addition to one main character. Jed Parsario serves as the stagehand. These are brilliant actors, with improvisional talents, and this was a production that best showcased them.
While the three performers embody dozens of characters, they also tell the story that is full of wordplay and wit, at a breakneck space. At the end, when Watson and Holmes come upon a dead body, they assume it to be Sir Henry’s and Holmes chides Watson, “Are you happy now Watson? All you had to do was to keep Sir Henry alive”. But the brilliant detective Holmes soon solves the mystery and the audience spills out of the theater with howls of laughter. Elvis Presley’s “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog Cryin’ all the time” plays in the background. If you are looking for fun evening with plenty of laughter, to last the entire weekend, then don’t miss this show.