Michael Lundy (from left), Russell Clements and Robin Thompson are featured in the Scripps Ranch Theatre production of â€œBaskerville.â€ (photo by Ken Jacques)
‘Baskerville’ will impress audiences
Originally published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1902, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is one of the most well-known stories featuring the famous Sherlock Holmes. Today, more than 100 years later, director Charles Peters is bringing Ken Ludwig’s 2015 adaptation of the iconic story, titled “Baskerville,” to life on the stage for Scripps Ranch Theatre.
Based on Doyle’s original work, “Baskerville” sees Sir Henry, heir to the Baskerville estate, helped by Holmes and Watson as they attempt to protect him from a family curse. However, this is not your typical mystery thriller.
Peters described the show as a farce, explaining, “There’s a lot of craziness in this show. So much is going on, there’s something for everyone.”
The show even extends beyond the stage, with characters breaking the fourth wall with some audience interaction and participation.
“You’ve never seen Holmes like this,” Peters said.
According to Peters, the cast has become a real family, with much laughter and bonding during rehearsal.
“Sometimes two of them can’t even get through a scene because they just crack up looking at each other,” he said. “There’s a real level of closeness there. It’s not something you can fake.”
This cast certainly has to be close, composed of only five actors in total, with three of these five having to portray 40 characters combined.
This three-person ensemble is comprised up of Russell Clements, Michelle Marie Trester and Bob Himlin. Peters described Clements as “younger, but just so experienced,” commending his willingness to jump into any role with no fear.
Trester is similarly experienced, performing on stages throughout San Diego and beyond.
“She’s full of accents in this role,” Peters said. “Some authentic, some hilarious, some both.”
Finally, Himlin plays the titular Sir Henry Baskerville himself, with Peters explaining, “He contributes a genuine swagger and soundness to the stage.”
Separate from the ensemble, seasoned actors Robin Thompson and Michael Lundy portray the dynamic duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively. Peters tells of how they each bring something unique to their characters, with Thompson contributing a real wonder and mystery to his Holmes, while Lundy has “a real heart … A real sense of loyalty.”
The chemistry between these two onstage helps the audience settle in for a real treat of unique storytelling.
While the show is great fun for the audience, it, like every other show, has faced its share of challenges during production. As mentioned earlier, three actors playing 40 characters can be admittedly difficult, with the cast needing to craft dozens of characters that are notably different from one another. In hand with that, quick changes are necessary, many of which are onstage. Peters even reveals that costumer Debby Sullivan began work in October for this show’s wardrobe.
Furthermore, staging “Baskerville” was a challenge in and of itself, Peters said.
“The set is fairly minimal because we don’t have the luxury of huge set pieces,” he said. Because of how quickly the show changes scenes, Peters worked with the set designer to create sets that are abstract, both visually interesting and fluid. This way, rapid scene changes are not bogged down by moving set pieces.
“One minute we’re indoors at Baker Street, then on a busy street, then at the train station, and we’re just moving so fast there’s no time for a big set,” Peters explained.
As a whole, “Baskerville” is sure to enthrall audiences.
“There’s a whole lot going on here,” Peters said. “Come and laugh, but also be intrigued by the mystery.”
“Baskerville” runs from March 23 to April 22, with shows every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and every Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Legler Benbough Theater on the Alliant International University campus, 9783 Avenue of Nations.