Attention-grabbing characters and lightning-quick costume changes are the highlights of the madcap fun of “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” at Cleveland Play House.
Playing now through February 12, 2017 in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square, the larger-than-life comedy is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Starring Dr. Watson (Jacob James), Sherlock Holmes (Rafael Untalan), and over 40 other characters (Brian Owen, Evan Alexander Smith, and Nisi Sturgis), the fantastic cast of five is a team of dynamic energy and hilarity.
Battling their “most puzzling and dangerous case yet,” the Holmes crew is brilliantly directed by Brendon Fox, traipsing about the stage through castles, across moors, and into the hearts of audience members.
When the Baskerville heirs mysteriously start dying off, Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to investigate before Sir Henry Baskerville (the latest heir) meets a mysterious death. There is fog, there is lurking, there is a hellhound with blazing eyes and breathing fire!
The physical comedy is amply played, and the surprise star of the action is the wardrobe. But it’s not just the wardrobe, it’s the speedy switcharoo with which it’s accomplished, and for which the Wardrobe Crew has their own well-deserved bow at the end of the play. Hats, wigs, frocks, shoes, makeup, the works! It’s dizzying to watch and spectacular to see pulled-off in the middle of scenes. Truly, the works of Costume Designer Lex Liang, and Wig Design from Wigs and Whiskers take on lives of their own in this tale.
With a whirlwind of characters and an excess of accents (Thom Jones – Dialect Coach), it’s at first hard to keep up with who’s who, but all entities are uproariously concocted and vividly executed. It’s hard not to love characters like the Castilian Desk Clerk, the cheeky newsboy, the beautiful Beryl, the butterfly-catching brother, and plenty of creepers and keepers alike.
Filled with giddy gags and stupid jokes, the play is rounded out with gorgeous moody lighting (Peter Maradudin), on a stage graced with a multitude of grand moving set pieces (Timothy R. Mackabee). The eerie show tone is enhanced by a playfully created score of music and sound design (Victoria Deiorio).
If you’re up for adventure, laughter, the clever use of sets, and lots of surprises, do not miss “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” at Cleveland Play House, running through February 12, 2017 in the Allen Theatre and Playhouse Square.
Tickets range in price from $25-$100 each. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.
*All Photo Credits ROGER MASTROIANNI