There’s still time to catch Theatrical Outfit’s production of Ken Ludwig’s “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery,” directed by Shannon Eubanks, which runs through Dec. 19.
Ludwig is one of the world’s most successful playwrights, with several hits on Broadway (and Tony Awards) and London’s West End (several Olivier Awards).
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world’s most famous detective, needs no introduction. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1902) is probably his best known story.
To celebrate the holidays, Theatrical Outfit wanted to bring us “a play that combines an adventurous spirit with dynamic theatricality, something the whole family could enjoy.” This the show does, for only five excellent actors play about 40 characters all by themselves.
John Keabler plays Sherlock Holmes, and Lala Cochran plays Dr. Watson. But they play other characters as well, and they are joined by Robin Bloodworth, Kathryn Tkel, and Gina Rickicki. These five offer a dazzling display of versatility and quick-change artistry. And more important, each has a keen comedy sense – a quality that one cannot teach.
In the play Holmes and Watson are investigating some strange goings-on in the British countryside: There are reports that a supernaturally large hound may have killed Sir Charles Baskerville, and of course the neighbors are terrified. But lest you be nervous about this tale, let me quickly assure you that “Baskerville” is, most definitely, a comedy.
The quick changes that these actors accomplish make the “Saturday Night Live” folks look like slowpokes. And many of these sleight of hand changes are done in full view of the audience; naturally, this only adds to the hilarity.
So we are presented with a zany evening where the plot is sort of forgettable, but the performances and the fun are not. Marie Quintero’s costumes are not only witty and attractive but almost mesmeric in that they seem to come and go at will. They’re almost a separate character in the play!
I must emphasize the talent, skill, and energy of the actors: These are professionals who make all their hijinks look easy; they are not. Their British accents are fine, honed to near perfection by dialect coach Elisa Carlson. Director Eubanks is to be commended for skillfully making two hours of mischief making fly by.
The Outfit has succeeded; while not a holiday show per se, “Baskerville” reveals an adventurous spirit of fun with an abundant sense of theatricality to boot.
Grab tickets for the final performances at theatricaloutfit.org.