Imagine being transported to Victorian-era England and into an apartment at 221B Baker Street. The wily Sherlock Holmes and his trusty colleague Dr. Watson await your arrival, ready to take you through the comedic adventure that is The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Amidst the very-convincing Victorian English accents which capture the oddball characters of the play, the John Astin Theatre delivered a highly entertaining rendition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale this past weekend. Adapted by Terry McCabe for the stage and directed by James Glossman, the play was performed in the intimate John Astin Theatre in the historic Merrick Barn.
The Hound of the Baskervilles — arguably the most famous of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures — was first published in 1902. The story follows the iconic detective and his sidekick investigating the mysterious Baskerville curse, which has seemingly claimed the life of Sir Charles Baskerville.
The legend, which Dr. Mortimer, an acquaintance of the late Sir Charles, explains, follows that any Baskerville who wanders from Baskerville Hall in Dartmoor at night will suffer a premature death at the jaws of a giant, demonic hound. As the heir to the Baskerville fortune, Sir Henry Baskerville makes his first visit to his family’s homeland and Holmes assigns Dr. Watson to provide security and companionship for the newcomer from America.
The mystery deepens as they meet an assortment of eccentric characters including the Baskerville family servants Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, the naturalist Stapleton and his sister Beryl, a downtrodden neighbor Ms. Lyons and other neighbors of the area. However, as strange and supernatural as this case might seem, no mystery is too deep for the great Sherlock Holmes.
Sophomore Sandy Clancy, playing the titular character, perfectly displayed the great vigor necessary to portray Sherlock Holmes. Her quick English accent captured Holmes’ know-it-all wit and antics, displaying a more jovial side of the character that is not always seen in modern interpretations.
Freshman Lily Wilson gave a convincing take on the more pragmatic Dr. Watson, serving as Holmes’ foil. Her clear enunciation captivated the audience and her depiction of Watson made it seem as if she was the only character capable of giving a reliable account of all of the events.
The quirky Dr. Mortimer, played by junior Melissa Shohet, stole almost every scene. Her hilariously dramatic account of the Baskervillle curse had the audience in stitches.
Junior Benjamin Leach exhibited the eagerness and naivete of the young Sir Henry Baskerville. His country American twang was a welcome change of pace from the English accents and provided a contrast that showed his newcomer status.
The distracted naturalist Stapleton, played by freshman Hanna Al-Kowsi, was reminiscent of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, luring the audience with her performance just as she lured insects on the moor.
The mysterious butler Mortimer and the elegant Beryl Stapleton, played by freshmen Nicholas Hill and Holly Nelson respectively, gave the mystery a new dimension, making the audience question whether anything at Baskerville Hall was really as it seemed.
Claire Beaver, a senior playing the unlucky Laura Lyons, exemplified the defiant attitude of her character.
Senior Rachel Thompson, who played cabman and Mrs. Barrymore, and junior Sana Kamboj, who played Perkins, Frankland, Selden, the postmaster and Lestrade, rounded out the cast by playing a variety of diverse characters, each with a different disposition than the previous role.
Cellist Stephen Chen provided a haunting soundtrack to the play, providing the gloomy and mysterious sounds of the Grimpen Mire and the Baskerville hound. By the time the show ended, the full house at the John Astin Theater had been taken for a highly entertaining whirlwind of events.
Students who attended the show thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
Junior Yoseph Kim commented that the show provided a welcome study break.
“[The show was] a perfect distraction,” he said. “It was well worth my time, even during the middle of midterms. Would recommend 11/10. The actress playing Sherlock had fantastic diction and pronunciation.”
This was the first show Kim had seen at Hopkins, and he stated that he is looking forward to attending more theater performances in the near future.
Suyeon Ju, a junior who came to support a friend in the play, stated that this was her first time going to a play.
“[It was] a riveting experience. This was the first play I’ve watched but I was pleasantly surprised and the acting was top notch,” Ju said.
Perhaps the highest praise for the production came from junior Christian Helgeson who affirmatively praised the performances from all of the actors.
“I liked the actors in it. I liked their acting. It was better than Cats, coming from someone who enjoyed watching it,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Claire Beaver is a Senior Staff Writer. She was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.