Baskerville thrills, chills, and delights
By Erin Phillips for San Diego Jewish World
SAN DIEGO– Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is pure theatrical delight from start to finish. The comedy-mystery from the award-winning Jewish playwright – based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale The Hound of the Baskervilles – provides nonstop action, laughs and thrills on every level.
When famous detective Sherlock Holmes is called upon to investigate the suspicious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, Holmes and his trusty sidekick Doctor Watson embark on a devilish, nonstop wild ride to solve the case of their careers. Haunted by the local legend of a giant spectral hound, the two men must keep their eyes peeled, ears open, and wits about them as they uncover the secrets of Baskerville Hall.
Directed by Josh Rhodes, the play stars Euan Morton as Sherlock Holmes and Usman Ally as Doctor Watson. Three additional actors portray a dizzying array of characters at breakneck speed, from the haunted mansion-grotesqueness of Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, the caretakers of the estate, to the whimsical naturalist Mr. Stapleton and his beautiful sister Beryl, to Texan cowboy Sir Henry, the deceased Sir Charles’ heir. The mad-dash costume and character changes are all part of the fun, a winking show within the show pulled off with hilarity and aplomb by an incredibly talented cast and crew.
The play takes full advantage of the round, intimate Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, with chandeliers dangling from the ceiling, portraits and mounted deer heads lining the walls, and doll-sized Victorian houses ringing the stage. The ingenious set, lighting, costume and sound design create the world of Victorian England, from the bustling streets of London to the creaking gloom of Baskerville Hall and the desolate beauty of the moor.
Rhodes’ experience as a choreographer is on full display as scenery flies across the stage, props pop out of the floor, and the actors race in, out, across the stage and around the theatre, surprising, charming, and thrilling the audience at a feverish pace. It’s “elementary, my dear” – this is one case not to be missed.