Fans of Sherlock Holmes and mysteries in general will especially enjoy R. Hamilton Wright and David Pichette’s adaptation of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1902 crime novel. Presented by the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the show opened Friday and will play through March 15 on the OneAmerica Stage.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” revolves around the efforts of Sherlock Holmes (Marcus Truschinski) and his companion Dr. John Watson (Matthew Brumlow) to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville who is found dead on his estate. Though he died of a heart attack, the footprints of an enormous hound near his body reinforce the existence of a legendary curse involving a supernatural canine creature that stalks members of the Baskerville lineage.
Peter Amster has directed numerous shows for IRT, including last season’s murder mystery spoof, “The Games Afoot.” With a penchant for crime dramas, Amster’s expertise in this genre is once again evident in his direction of this production. Humor is prominent in this adaptation so his proficiency in comedy is apparent as well. The results are a pure delight.
The cast of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is majorly responsible for the show’s high entertainment value. Featuring actors from throughout the Midwest, there are also some familiar faces of those who perform regularly at the IRT.
Truschinski was ideal as the shrewd, analytical and prissy Holmes, as is Brumlow in his role as the detective’s put upon sidekick Watson. Together the actors conveyed just the right mix of personal and professional rapport. This adaptation allows for more independence for Watson, not to mention prominence, leaving one to wonder why perfectionist Holmes allows that to happen. But then again, without giving anything away, that is just one of many surprises in a script filled with them.
Eric Parks, as Sir Henry Baskerville, nephew of the late Sir Charles and heir to his estate, was believable as an affable Canadian cowboy who disdains the stiff Brit manners and mores he’s exposed to, preferring informality instead. With all the members of the cast affecting English accents, Parks’ Canadian accent (oot for out) sounded authentic as well. Responsible for dialogue coaching was Nancy Lipschultz.
Especially enjoyable were the performances of many in the ensemble playing multiple roles. Some of the most colorful portrayals were those of Constance Macy as housekeepers Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Barrymore as well as a ticket seller, and Ryan Artzberger as James Mortimer and others.
Scene designer Kevin Depinet created an artful set framed by a huge arched proscenium reflecting Victorian-style architecture, which allows for the playing area that serves as the moors and other locations and set pieces (various interiors) on wagons that rolled onto the stage. Enhancing the producction are images, both video and stills (such as moving trains and exteriors) that are projected on an upstage screen. Projection designer Mike Tutaj created the visuals.
The remainder of the first-rate creative team, including costumer Tracy Dorman, lighting designer Thomas C. Hase, sound designer Todd Mack Reischman, production designer Mike Tutaj and composer Gregg Coffin, all deserve plaudits for transporting the audience to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Victorian England and its environs.
For tickets and information about “The Hound of the Baskervilles” presented by Indiana Repertory Theatre, call (317) 635-5252 or visit irtlive.com.
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