BWW Review: BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY at Madcap Comedy And Improv Troupe
Wichita has a brand-new theatre called Madcap Comedy and Improv Troupe! Now well into what appears to be the first season for the company, they have presented their second full-fledge production after Neil Simon's The Odd Couple under the direction of Cameron Carlson. And it's a good one! Filled with hilarity and sharp comedic acting by only a cast of seven, Ken Ludwig's Baskerville did not disappoint. Catch it this weekend before it closes.
The show is presented in two acts with a continuation of thirty plus scenes. Actors also play forty-five different characters. Set in London in the late 1800s, the premise of the show is solving the infamous murder mystery and the legend of the hounds of Baskerville through comedy, some which were in threes, clues, props, such as smoking pipes and butterfly catchers, and slap stick appeal.
Leading the cast as Sherlock Holmes himself is Mark Mannette, appearing courtesy of Actor's Equity. Mannette, the current director of theatre at Newman University in Wichita, was strong in his delivery and conveyance and believable in that conviction, with a British accent. He played Holmes with assured seriousness which played up the humor for the role. Opposite Mannette was Bryan Welsby as Watson. Welsby was delightfully charming and knew exactly where to stand on stage, since the play was presented in a round. At times, there were slightly obstructed views but nevertheless was a great effort in the theatrical style.
The rest of the cast played various roles leading up to solving the murder mystery. All did a great job with quick changes and quick changes of characterizations. And some were real standout characters! For example, Theresa Dombrowski played a Swedish-blonde with witty timing, accent, and likeability. Lana Jeppesen Carlson had a wonderful cockney accent for one of her roles. Maxwell McIntire was strong in his acting too, having to play background characters and also a hero-type or leading man part, aiding to Watson and Holmes. It was truly Steve Dunn and Amy Shelden that played some wild personas, particularly a Hispanic inn-keeper and an old German maid, respectively. Shelden's German maid was hands down hilarious and the accent was spot-on. Truly, this show was an actor's dream show having to get the opportunity to play so many varied characters.
It's a shame that the night I went there was not a bigger crowd to enjoy the production. As previously mentioned, the production was done in a round, but empty chairs outnumbered those attending. For the future, it might be nice if the space was more compact and not quite as wide of an area to play on just in case smaller crowds do appear. Still, the attempt was well-executed and staged. Lighting was even appropriate and gave focus where need be, and sound cues were audible and consistent to the story-telling. Pre-show curtain music may have been nice, but still, congratulations is in order to the lightening and sound design team, comprised of Newman University students Anna Bohr, Nick Carlson and Lucas Farney. Technical achievements were also worth noting, particularly the fog machine which gave a sense of eeriness and the costumes, done by Jessica Fisher, were well thought out in order to accomplish quick changes. In addition, props by Lana Jeppesen Carlson and Theresa Dombrowski, created carriages out of umbrellas and family portraits with picture frames; all appropriate to the time period.
Act one runs for about an hour and the second act is forty-five minutes in length, with one fifteen-minute intermission. For ticket information, you can call 316.304.1704 or be sure to find their company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
What: Madcap's Production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Homes Mystery
Where: Jabara Flexible Theatre at Newman University
When: June 13-16, 2019, Shows are at 8:00 p.m. except Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/662894600807614/
Be sure to Like Their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MADCAPComedyImprovTroupe/
Theresa Dombrowski and Lana Jeppsen Carlson in BASKERVILLE.
Ken Ludwig's BASKERVILLE. June 13-16 at Jabara Flexible Theatre at Newman University.