It’s no mystery why audiences cheer for “Baskerville”

“They say his neck was chewed off by the evil hound. This is not a good way to die.”

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson investigate rumors of a supernatural beast that’s murdering the heirs to a family fortune. That sounds intense, but “Baskerville” is no thriller. It barely counts as a mystery.

Ken Ludwig reinterprets Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic through the comedic lens of Young Frankenstein. The play mocks several monster-movie tropes, constantly undercutting the tension with broad, self-aware laughs.

The silliness begins with casting, as three actors juggle the 40 or so side characters while Holmes and Watson stay themselves throughout.

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Rebecca Myers masters the challenge. She brings real depth to her characters, from a street urchin to a bosomy nurse, adding subtleties beyond a costume change or obnoxious accent. (To be clear, we still get plenty of obnoxious accents, along with cross-dressing maids, flirtatious innkeepers and a truly random opera parody.)

The dressers backstage do great work . . . which makes it so odd that the play would intentionally include a missed change, along with jokes about how long it takes to switch costumes.

“Baskerville” provides a scrappy change of pace for Fine Arts Center subscribers, blending amateur humor with technical precision. The opening night crowd clearly had a blast.

Additional Notes:
Let’s be honest, this play belongs on a smaller stage.
—It’s too much space for such a small cast. The actors have to fight against the vast emptiness above and around them.
—The plucky, semi-improvisational tone clashes with the dignity of the venue (not to mention the ticket price).
—A cheaper set could better match the flexibility of the actors, transporting us from London to the moors rather than leaving the city facade onstage all night.

This season, Fine Arts Center offers $20 tickets on Wednesdays for any seat in the house. That’s more than 50% off for most seats, so take a look at their show calendar and plan ahead.

“Baskerville” features sexual humor and mild peril. If your kids are too young to read Doyle’s original, leave them at home.

Fine Arts Center
30 W Dale St
Box Office: (719) 634-5581

Playing October 5 – 29, 2017
Admission: $45-$55 premium; $20 Wednesdays

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