White Rock Players Club’s next production, Baskerville (Sept. 29 to Oct. 16 at the Ocean Parc Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.) takes on the legend of Sherlock Holmes in more ways than one.
Don’t expect Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character in traditional, Sidney Paget-illustrated form.
Or the tale of the monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles as Doyle originally published it, serialized in the Strand Magazine in 1901 and 1902.
Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery is, after all, a farcical re-imagining of the plot by celebrated playwright Ken Ludwig, author of such witty entertainments as Lend Me a Tenor, The Comedy of Tenors, Leading Ladies and The Game’s Afoot.
It’s described as a “fun, fast-paced adventure that takes everyone’s favourite detective from London to the Devonshire countryside” to solve the mystery of the legendary hound – a monstrous dog that has reputedly terrorized fog-shrouded Grimpen Mire in Dartmoor for generations.
As directed by Thomas Gage, the play also features WRPC newcomer Teena Teeninga in a very different take on the famed detective, with WRPC regular (and the club’s artistic director) Fred Partridge, as Holmes’ affable, loyal companion, Dr. Watson.
Also challenging usual expectations, actors Katherine Morris, Scott Campbell and Bryce Mills are charged with taking on some 40 different characters among them to bring the story to the stage.
“This is a play about joy,” explained director Thomas Gage.
“It’s the joy of storytelling, the fun that we have when we play and use our imagination to bring worlds to life. That’s what theatre is all about, at its core – and this play revels in that playfulness.”
Helping bring this vision to life are assistant director Adrian Shaffer, set designer Tim Driscoll, and costumer Laura MacKenzie in a production supervised by Rebekah MacEwan and Vanessa Siemens.
Some elements of Conan Doyle’s original remain intact, of course, including the spooky premise – the legend of a spectral hound that is said to curse all of the Baskerville bloodline.
Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead outside his manor, his features convulsed. Near his body are the pawprints of a gigantic hound – fanning the flames of local superstition.
It’s up to Watson and the mercurially brilliant Holmes to sort fact from fancy and unearth the truth – before the current heir of the manor, Sir Henry Baskerville, can become the next victim of the supposed curse.
Performances of Baskerville runs Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $28 for adults; $24 for seniors or youth under 18, except for a single preview night (Sept. 29) at which all tickets will be $20. For more information, visit www.whiterockplayers.ca/shows or call 604-536-7535 to reserve tickets.
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