Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery


Philadelphia Theatre company

Philadelphia, PA

Nov - Dec 2015

Director: Amanda Dehnert

Playwright: Ken Ludwig

Set Design: Daniel Ostling

Costume Design: Jess Goldstein

Lighting Design: Phillip Rosenberg / Joel Shier

Sound Design: Josh Horvath

Wig Design: Leah Loukas

Stage Manager: Alison Cote / Leslie Allen

With: Henry Clarke, Crystal Finn, Ron Menzel, and Matt Zambrano

The very act of storytelling -- how a story, old and hoary and often famous, is told -- can sometimes be an event in and of itself. We see it most with new spins on Shakespearean plays, many of which sport lines we’ve been reciting or hearing, whether we know it or not, since we were very little.

But with a Sherlock Holmes story, a mystery that nowadays isn’t really, when you look it, so great a mystery compared to the police procedurals on television, there are a lot of characters and a lot of fun to be had.

So, Ken Ludwig thought, why not have Holmes and Watson solve a mystery, while set upon by three dozen characters, played by three other actors.

Stapelton (R), the butterfly enthusiast, scares the bejeezus out of Dr. Watson.

Castillian Desk Clerk? Castillian Desk Clerk.

Two cockney street urchins get marching orders from Holmes (center).

Suffice it to say, Mr. Ludwig took some liberties with this fast-paced and fun-as-a-barrel-of-Liverpool-marmosets Baskerville. There certainly no saucy maids at a telegraph office in the Sherlock Holmes classic The Hound of the Baskervilles. Nor was there a Castillian desk clerk, a pirate carriage driver, and the ending is a bit ... different than in the play.

But it’s a wonderful love letter to theater, and in the clever hands of director Amanda Dehnert, it was an ode to stagecraft as well. Magnetic flowers, trap doors, stuffed rabbits and foxes, all shown with a vaudevillian music box.

The last of the Baskervilles, Henry (L), peers through a, um, window with the Barrymores and Watson, trying to spy a convict named...Wictor.