In 2012, Ken Ludwig won a rare Edgar Award for Best Play, presented by the trade association Mystery Writers of America and named after the seminal literary figure Edgar Allan Poe, credited as an influence on everyone from the master of cinematic suspense Alfred Hitchcock to crime fiction pioneer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the sire of singular detective Sherlock Holmes.
Ludwig won the Edgar for The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays, a comedic mystery about the actor, William Gillette, who originated the role of Holmes in early stage adaptations. Five years later, Ludwig premiered Murder on the Orient Express, his stage version of the classic mystery written by the late, legendary “Queen of Crime” Agatha Christie.
The Game’s Afoot‘s subtitle, prefixed with the word “Go,” serves as the tagline for a new production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre. A comedy-infused stage adaptation of Doyle’s 1902 novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, the play features over 40 characters, all brought to life by a cast of five actors.
Danny Gavigan assumes the role of Holmes and Tony Nam portrays Doctor Watson in Everyman’s production, with the remaining 38 characters split among Megan Anderson, Bruce Randolph Nelson, and Drew Kopas.
Laura Kepley directs a creative team of designers, featuring sets by Paige Hathaway, costumes by David Burdick, lights by Harold F. Burgess II, sound by Tosin Olufolabi, and projections by Kelly Colburn.
Everyman’s production comes almost eight years after the play’s premiere at Arena Stage, which garnered praise at the time from Metro Weekly theater critic Kate Wingfield. Wingfield’s four-star review started and ended by referencing Ludwig’s stated aim with the work of creating a “joyful, old-fashioned entertainment.”
She continued, “This is unmitigated theatrical fun, nothing less and very much something more…. Ludwig’s Baskerville is just what it claims to be: a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Of course, it has been abridged, adapted, and generally adulterated into an evening of campy — and occasionally quite witty — fun.
“But it is absolutely what Ludwig wants it to be: thoroughly entertaining. As for the intended audience, have a look at your theater companion. If they lean towards musical theater, they will thoroughly enjoy themselves. If they are a fan of BBC Sherlock, and they keep all their expectations in check, they will appreciate the nicely curated atmosphere and some of the more off-piste jokes — visual and otherwise. If your guest is of a mysterious persuasion, your litmus test will be the joke about the Christian at the door in the first act.”
Extended through Jan. 8 at Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. in Baltimore, Md. Tickets are $29 to $63.
Visit www.everymantheatre.org or call 410-752-2208.
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