BWW Review: Comedy and Clues Combine in BASKERVILLE, CATCO's Captivating Caper
Grab your deerstalker hat and get ready to put your Holmesian skills of deductive reasoning to the test at CATCO's "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery."
Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, the play mixes elements of a classic whodunnit with witty wordplay and slapstick gags to humorously parody melodramatic detective flicks.
Featuring Holmes' right-hand man, Dr. John Watson (Scott Douglas Wilson), as its amiable narrator, "Baskerville" begins at 221B Baker Street, where the crime-solving duo are intrigued by a local legend that speaks of a demonic hound terrorizing the English countryside. The plot thickens when they learn that many believe the mysterious beast is tasked with killing off members of the Baskerville family.
As the clues and curiosities begin to pile up, it's up to Holmes (Connor McClellan) and Watson to solve the mystery and protect visiting American Sir Henry Baskerville (Ben Tracy) before the hound strikes again.
Throughout the play, the audience provides the laugh track as members of the five-actor cast scramble and scurry around the fog-shrouded set, dashing off-stage only to return seconds later with a new costume, accent and over-the-top persona.
Bringing to life some of the most diverse characters from the play's nearly 40 roles are Ralph E. Scott, a graduate of The Second City improvisational comedy theater and training center in Chicago, and Abigail Worden, an Artist Education Apprentice for CATCO's 2016-17 season. Scott's portrayals of Mr. Barrymore, Baskerville Hall's comically creepy house servant, and nutty naturalist Mr. Stapleton, especially seemed to be crowd favorites.
Director David Hemsley Caldwell, whose previous CATCO credits include last season's Chekhov-inspired comedy "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," and scenic designer Michael Brewer creatively make the most of the stage's cliff-like construction of ramps and steps to present a multi-purpose backdrop on which the mystery unfolds. Add in impeccably timed sound effects courtesy of Sound Designer Keya Myers-Alkire, and the result is a funny and fluid adventure that brings new life and laughter to a suspense genre staple.
"Baskerville" is set to be performed at the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts' Studio One Theatre from Jan. 25 to Feb. 12.
Ticket information and showtimes are listed on CATCO's website.
The Vern Riffe Center is located at 77 S. High St.