|Dr. Dan on the set with Sir Hugo Baskerville|
Playwright Tim Kelly and the production staff managed to present the essence of the novel in a two-act play that lasted 97 minutes, intermission included, and used only one set - a sitting room at Baskerville Hall.
Naturally, some creative liberties with the text were necessary. I think they worked quite well. A new character, the maid Perkins, was added to convey some vital information. Sir Henry's shoe is stolen from Baskerville Hall, not his hotel in London. And Dr. Mortimer is an old colleague of Watson - except that Dr. Mortimer is now Lady Agatha Mortimer.
Beryl Stapleton became Kathy Stapleton for no obvious reason. But that's not the biggest change from the novel. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want to know what it is. Consider this your spoiler alert.
The Stapleton female turns out to be the villain behind the villain, an Iago-like figure who planned the whole thing. Even though I'm a strict constructionist when it comes to Holmes, I couldn't help liking that. And some scholars have speculated that this was the case.
The best lines from The Hound made it into the play, as well as several great lines from elsewhere in the Canon. ("The most winning woman I ever knew . . .")
Greg Kissner's Sherlock Holmes reminded me of Robert Downey, Jr., but he told me afterwards that he watched a lot of Rathbone and Brett to prepare for the role and tried to make his interpretation an amalgam of the best Holmes actors. Whatever the inspirations, his Holmes worked very well - all of the Canonical arrogance with a leaven of humor.
Adding to the fun for us was seeing the play with our friends Mike and Tamy Hagan and other fellow members of the Stormy Petrels of Maumee Bay. Members Ted and Rhonda Cowell played the Barrymores, Elizabeth Cottle was the director and Susan McCann was the stage manager. They all did a great job.
|Ted Cowell as Barrymore|