By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Althos Low
Directed by Evan Jackson
Produced by Idle Muse Theatre Company
At Edge Theatre, Chicago
Fine Holmes classic mystery adorns stunning new theatre venue
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1901-02 The Hound of the Baskervilles, now in a worthy production by the reliable Idle Muse Theatre Company at the fabulous new Edge Theatre in Edgewater, stars Joel Thompson as Holmes and Nathan Pease as Watson. The two crime solvers travel from London to the countryside of rural Dartmoor to help an heir deal with his family’s curse from a murderous hellhound.
With Dr. Watson as narrator, The Hound of the Baskervilles, considered as the greatest of all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, deftly delivers several long speeches that set the tone and move the story along. Nathan Pease is terrific as Watson. We learn about the ancient curse of the Baskervilles in a chilling speech by Brian Bengtson as Dr. James Mortimer. We can almost see the special hound said to haunt the clan.
When Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in strange circumstances, Holmes and Watson as summoned to aid the new heir, Sir Henry Baskerville (Brandan Hutz), by Dr. Mortimer. Watson is to guard Sir Henry at the estate until the mystery is solved and the eerie legacy is safeguarded.
With an amazingly clear presentation of a complex plot and peopled with wacky country folk led by Jack Stapleton ( Jon Patrick Penick), The Hound of the Baskervilles is a most enjoyable stage mystery. We are quickly enticed into the detailed world of Holmes and Watson with their opening scene in which they examine a cane left by a visitor neither met. As smart as Watson’s observations are, Holmes reaches an astonishingly clever deduction simply from a cursory look at the cane. We are hooked and remain so as this fast-paced show unfolds smoothly without missing any one of Doyle’s intricate twists.
Besides the wonderful ensemble work, the atmosphere of the gloomy bog and moor of the Devonshire countryside was enhanced by Robert P. Llyod’s sound design. The barks and haunting sounds added depth to the mysterious tone necessary for the play to work. The puppetry is effective as the mystery is solved with a few twists and an unusual act by Watson.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is another stage worthy production by Idle Muse under the fine direction by Evan Jackson. Come see a fun mystery and take in the newest Chicago Theatre -Edge Theatre – not a storefront, but a newly-built 115 seat theatre complete with a large stage, fly space, etc. The show is entertaining and the venue will blow you away. Chicago needs 4 or 5 more of these full theatres.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: March 6, 2016
For more info checkout The Hound of the Baskervilles page at theatreinchicago.com
At Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL, call 773-340-9438, www.idlemuse.org, tickets $20m $15 for seniors & students, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, sundaes at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 10 minutes with intermission, through April 3, 2016