Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Slider Image: Ric Reid as Dr. Watson and Damien Atkins as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Photo by Emily Cooper.
Story Image: Damien Atkins as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Photo by Emily Cooper.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records Sherlock Holmes is listed as the “most portrayed character in history.” Sherlock is the creation of Arthur Conan Doyle an English author born Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Doyle was schooled to be a physician but in 1887 he penned the novel A Study in Scarlet where his soon to be infamous duo Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were brought to life.
One of Doyle’s most popular Sherlock stories is The Hound of the Baskervilles and mystery lovers worldwide would agree. Director Craig Hall takes a classic approach to the stage version and gives fans of Sherlock and Doyle exactly what they expect – murder, mystery and an element of surprise.
The play opens in Sherlock Holmes’ upstairs office at 221B Baker Street where Sherlock(Damien Atkins), Watson (Ric Reid) and Mrs. Hudson receive a visit from James Mortimer, (Graeme Sommervile), a neighbour of the soon to be heir of the Baskerville estate, and Sir Henry Baskerville (Kristopher Bowman). The young Henry, an American has returned to Britain to claim his recently deceased Uncle’s estate.
The senior Baskerville is said to have had a heart attack and collapsed on the moors outside of Devon but Mortimer is convinced there is more to the story and is in fear for the young Baskerville’s life.
On Holmes advice a reluctant Watson joins Baskerville and Mortimer on their way back to Devon and tells them he will join them in due time.
When the trio arrive at the Baskerville estate a whole cast of suspects is brought to light. There’s the faithful servants The Barrymore’s played by Patrick Gallagan and Claire Jullien (who also plays Mrs. Hudson in a dual role). The strange neighbour Jack Stapleton (Grey Powell) often found walking the moors, and his wife Beryl (Natasha Mumba). Mr. Frankland played by newcomer Cameron Grant, and a mysterious stranger who makes his way on to the moors and inside of the Baskerville estate. Not to mention The Hound whose haunting howls are heard frequently on the moors, but is rarely sighted.
As the characters interact, suspicion mounts. An attempt on the young Henry’s life is troubling to Dr. Watson who is wondering why his friend Sherlock Holmes has not arrived!!
Classic Shaw set design combined with projection backdrops recreate the moors of Devon and the old English estates with amazing detail. The cast is cohesive and convincing in their roles, which makes the running time of 2 hours and 50 minutes, including two intermissions, go by quickly.
The Hound of the Baskervilles at The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake is showing til October 27th which gives you lots of time to get tickets and go!
By Jenifer Cass
For tickets visit www.shawfest.ca