ArtsTheatre

Stage West brings Sherlock Holmes to life in The Hound of the Baskervilles adaptation

Who says murder mysteries can’t be funny?

Sherlock Holmes certainly believes in adding a little bit of slapstick comedy and sarcastic humour into each case he takes on, and Stage West’s adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles is no exception.

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is Ken Ludwig’s version of the popular story and it’s brought to life by director Mark Bellamy, who is no stranger to mysteries himself being the former artistic director of Lunchbox Theatre.

And there’s no one better to lead a murder mystery says actor Patrick R. Brown, who plays Holmes’ dependable sidekick Dr. Watson in Stage West’s rendition of Baskerville.

“I have never done any kind of Sherlock Holmes-specific work before, though I’m familiar with him as the world’s most famous fictional detective,” Brown explains. “I’ve done murder mysteries before, and when you’re doing them you want Mark Bellamy at the helm. He gets what they’re about and this show is right up his alley.”

While Brown has known Bellamy for over 30 years and shared the stage with him in 2005 during Stage West’s production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this is the first time he’s been directed by Bellamy.

“Mark really encouraged us to have fun and play with each other, and that’s where the audience gets the most enjoyment is just watching us play and letting them in on it,” Brown adds. “Every audience is different, has its own temperature, its own personality and that’s what keeps us on our toes.”

As the story goes, the male heirs of the Baskerville line are being dispatched one by one, and the great Sherlock Holmes is on the case in this fast-paced production that relies heavily on its set design and costumes — and many of them. The mystery results in a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit as five actors deftly portray more than over 40 characters.

“It is fast moving, which is great because it flies by almost like a ride at the fair — you just jump on and go and the next thing you know, it’s over,” Brown says, adding the set designers were challenged with creating a time and a place for the backdrop, and didn’t disappoint.

“It’s not an easy thing to accomplish, but I think the designers achieved their goals because all those movable pieces really give you a sense of place and the costumers really give you a sense of period and style.”

Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery runs until April 15. For more information and tickets please visit stagewestcalgary.com.

Krista Sylvester is a freelance writer (and creator of that’s all she wrote) with a journalism background. She has worked for Metro, CityTV and the now defunct FFWD, and specializes in arts and culture, sports, film and entertainment, social issues and more. When she’s not writing, she can often be found at the poker table or ice rink playing hockey.

Tags: