Bare Stage Theatre Racks Up Laughs with Holmes Parody
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 13:09
“Red” at Theatre B is currently running in downtown Fargo. But before we move on to the rest of this season’s excitement, let’s take a look at what’s come before.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” played at The Stage at Island Park last week. Both this play and the former differ incredibly in their content, and for those who favor a more lighthearted fare, the latter option is a wonderful choice.
Parodying “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the Bare Stage Theatre, who strive to present productions with as minimal set pieces as possible (hence the name Bare Stage Theatre).
“The Hound of Baskervilles” finds Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville and the dozen other characters in the show scrambling to solve the mystery of the hellhound haunting the Baskervilles of the Grimpen Mire near Dartmoor in England.
Evan Christie, Jeremy Ellsworth, and Mark Seeba (the only members of the cast) juggle these characters, the set pieces and props all throughout the two-hour show, and doing it right the whole way through.
Some may scrutinize this production for parodying the world’s most famous fictional detective and his doctor colleague, two characters who have endured for over 120 years. Their popularity has stretched into films, television, spinoff stories and more. Bare Stage Theatre does no injustice with this production, as the talents of the cast carry the hilarity of this show without any disrespect.
Portraying Holmes is Christie, with Seeba as Watson, and Ellsworth as Baskerville. Though the three switch characters quite a bit, it is Christie who handles the bulk of this task. Alternating between Holmes, Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore, Jack and Cecile Stapleton and a few other minor figures, Christie has a challenge on his hands and he executes it hilariously.
Rushing on and off the stage and always gallivanting back as a new character, Christie’s presence is much-appreciated. His Cecile Stapleton is the best of all, particularly when interacting with Ellsworth’s Baskerville in their fleeting moments of passion.
Ellsworth and Seeba have their moments, too. Seeba’s dimwitted, trigger-happy Watson does everything but protect Baskerville from the dangers of the moor “where the powers of evil are exalted.” His vibrant attitude and determination to solve the case blind him from obvious clues at times, and Seeba’s portrayal succeeds without any wounds to Watson.
Ellsworth’s Baskerville is sure to please with his scenes in a sauna with Holmes and Watson, and (reiterated) any with the exotic “beauty” that is Cecile Stapleton. His cluelessness about the moor and mire perk up this parody as well.
Whether it is seeing Christie’s rapid costume changes, Ellsworth and Seeba’s characters’ incompetence, or busting a gut over the hilarity of the whole show, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” wins out in this parody form. Entertainment is what people want at the theater, and that is just what they got with this show.