by Kaileigh Willis
Cedarville’s production of “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” kept its audience intrigued and laughing during its opening night on Thursday April 5th.
A comical retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Ken Ludwig’s production follows the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (Will Douglas) and his partner Dr. Watson (Jordan Fredericks) as they are called to crack a baffling case. After Sir Charles Baskerville’s dreadful murder, Holmes and Watson must not only find the killer, but do so before the next Baskerville heir is doomed. As the two search for clues surrounding the death of Sir Charles, they travel throughout England meeting a cast of fascinating characters that they hope will lead them to find the killer.
Cedarville’s incredible performance of “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” engages its audience from the very first scene. From the cozy London flat on Baker street to the eerie moors, the play whisks the audience into a few days in the life of Sherlock Holmes. This production offers the audience a unique experience as the audience sits directly on the stage with the actors, bringing them closer to the action and including them in the fast-pace story. Characters even break the fourth wall from time to time, making the audience feel as though they are hunting for clues right alongside Holmes and Watson.
The creative lighting and realistic sound effects invite the audience to feel like a part of the mystery. Although the set is very simple, the production utilizes sound effects, lighting, and props to allow the audience to imagine the rest of the setting themselves. With flashes of light as well as gunshots and rain sounds, the entire stage quickly transforms from the London streets to the dark moors to a scary mansion.
Since the production only includes five actors, three of these actors (Cory Brookens, Blake Hansher, and Paige Baker) play multiple roles each. They skillfully transform from one character to the next, somtimes even changing their costumes on stage. These actors not only adjust the costumes they wear, they also change their accents and mannerisms for each of these roles. Each of these new characters are just as extravagant and entertaining as the last, which occasionally forces the audience to forget that they are all played by the same actors. They become entirely new characters without leaving a trace of the previous individual behind.
Considering the storyline is set in a different time period, all of the costumes worn by the actors reflect a London from a long time ago. The costume pieces are simple, yet each piece clearly represents its character so as to not confuse the audience as the actors transform from one person to the next.
Although the production is hysterical and keeps the audience laughing, an ominous mood is still present as Holmes and Watson search for the killer. The humor does not distract from the murder mystery that Holmes is trying to solve. As the audience attempts to find the murderer amongst the cast of characters, they will be sitting on the edge of their seats until the very last scene.
With its comical storyline and incredible acting, Cedarville’s production of “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” is sure to captivate and prompt many laughs from audiences of all ages. The production will run in the DeVries Theatre through April 15th.
Tickets can be purchased at the Information Center in the Stevens Student Center or online at cedarville.edu/ticketinfo.
Kaileigh Willis is a freshman professional writing and information design major and writer for Cedars. When she’s not studying, Kaileigh likes to drink tea, read, and listen to music.