Baskerville is a comic treat
Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is a comic treat, playing on the Park Square Theater’s proscenium stage until August 5th. The show combines one of Sherlock Holmes best known cases with slapstick comedy. The cast is small at just five actors but the story is not. It travels from Baker Street in London to the moors, and the story consists of over 40 characters. In order to tell this large story three of the actors (the ones not playing Sherlock and Watson) are required to change costumes and mannerisms constantly. It is a wonder to watch them keep up with the rapid pace, the show fully commits to this organized chaos, often times stopping to acknowledge it during a scene.
In order to pull this farce off all five actors have to be extremely talented and adept in comedy, which they all are. This cast may just be my favorite ensemble that I have seen all year. The cast consists of Ricardo Beaird, Marika Proctor, and Eric “Pogi” Sumangil, playing a large cast of characters. McKenna Kelly-Eiding plays Sherlock Holmes and Sara Richardson plays Dr. Watson. It may be considered unusual to have Sherlock and Watson both portrayed by women actors, but it does not affect the story as all and both characters are still very recognizable. Kelly-Eiding's Sherlock has a dry sense of humor and is very blunt and to the point, but always with a knowing smile. Richardson's Watson is very eager to learn and improve her own craft while documenting Sherlock's cases. The character is a bit more clumsy that the Watson you might know, but she is the perfect narrator and guide for Park Square's delightfully fun take on Sherlock.
The set designed by Eli Sherlock is just as versatile as the the cast. Three large frames make up the set, within a large manor. Different set pieces are slid in and out, combined with the lightning design by Michael P Kittel the stage transforms between scenes seamlessly with the help of the back stage crew that can sometimes be spotted wearing large insect antennas.
With a running time of over three hours the show is long for a comedy and it did feel like it could use some editing. Sometimes it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is a joy to watch and is sure to leave you laughing. It is a must see for anyone who is a big Sherlock fan or who enjoys the work of Monty Python or Abbott and Costello. You can see it at the Park Square Theater in St. Paul until August 5th.
*Photo by Petronella J Ytsma