Bigfork Community Players Perform Hilarious Parody of Sherlock Holmes Classic
At the turn of the 20th century, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the third of his four Sherlock Holmes mysteries, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Considered by many to be the best of the series, it was honored by the BBC as one of Britain’s 100 most influential books. Then a three-person comedy company, often compared to the Marx Brothers and Monty Python, commissioned Steven Canny and John Nicholson to write a stage version. This effort turned the story to an end.
Comedy, a mixture of farce, parody and mystery, makes people laugh on three levels. First up is the mystery of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a chilling tale of a spectral hound pursuing its victims to their graves. But it’s also the story of three enterprising actors trying to make a quick buck by playing all 15 roles in the story on their own, including false starts, production issues and audience reactions. The result is a parody of the original story.
In addition to playing Dr. John Watson, David Vale plays one of the actors as himself, the de facto leader of the three actors. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he says in character. “A cast of only three actors. But I hadn’t expected that before the killer was discovered, my grumpy colleagues would try to kill each other. How this happens is still a mystery.
Michele Shapero is directing production. “It’s supposed to be a scripted piece that feels like part of it is improvised. But, when these actors are pissed off, there’s rarely a performance where they aren’t doing something unexpected.
Carol DiNolfo is in charge of sound effects. “Normally, operating the soundboard involves turning on the microphones and ringing the doorbell occasionally. example – make me wish I had three hands.
Ethan Waltman plays Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest detective. “Some claim in this play that Sherlock is the second or third greatest detective. I’m not bothered by that. I’m sure none of the others look as good as me in a dress.
Scott Roskam plays Sir Henry Baskerville. “I suppose Sir Henry is of fairly good reputation in England. But he has spent most of his life in Canada and looks and talks like a Scot. Probably because he can’t handle a Canadian accent.
Allison McCarthy is the assistant director of Shapero. “It’s pretty rare that a community theater piece needs an assistant director. But with three actors changing costumes and the sets moving for each scene, it’s just too much for one person to keep up with.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” opens Friday, April 22 at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts and plays for two consecutive weekends with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 1. are available at Pocketstone Cafe, Bigfork Drug, at the door and online at bigforkcommunityplayers.com.