Review: Allen Contemporary Theatre's BASKERVILLE: A SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY will have you crying tears of laughter!


Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

By Ken Ludwig
Directed by Robyn Mead
Produced by Allen Contemporary Theatre, HEB, Warren Rhoades and 
Allen Americans Professional Hockey Club and Chris Bethelot

Audience Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission
Accessible Seating: Available
Hearing Devices: Not Available
Sensory Friendly Showing: Not Available
ASL Showing: Not Available
Sound Level: Comfortable Volume level
Noises and Visuals to Prepare For: used of fog, gunshots, knives, portrayal of murder

Reviewed by Natalie Shaw

Oh, I do love a good Sherlock Holmes mystery! And, playwright Ken Ludwig has a niche for taking traditional stories and making them even more fun by his use of humor! Director Robyn Mead kicks the comedy up a notch with Allen Contemporary Theatre's production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. 

This talented cast and crew bring one of the funniest and over-the-top versions of Sherlock I have yet to surely see. You'll need to fasten your seat belts for this ride! Sherlock Holmes is a familiar story to lovers of literature, and original writer Author Conan Doyle wrote the crack-addicted Holmes as a bit of a pompous know-it-all, who wonders why the rest of the world can't get it together, especially when taking notice of (what he would consider to be) blatant clues that solve the most mundane of "mysterious" murders. (Come on, Watson, isn't it obvious?!) 

Eric Levy brings us a forthright Sherlock Holmes, acting as the straight man in this wheels-off comedy. Meanwhile, our narrator, Dr. Watson (played intently by Beau Dameron) bravely takes the reigns in pursuing the leads in this mystery. Actors 1 and 2, and Actress 1 (played by Brian Hokanson, Jeff York and Laura Jennings, respectively) successfully switch characters, more times than we can count, even playing cross-gender characters, driving the storyline to discover who killed Charles Baskerville, and who is threatening the life of gunslinger Henry Baskerville, portrayed by York with enticing Texas charm. Hokanson renders an honest "naturalist" in Jack Stapleton, whose sole-purpose is to capture the beautiful butterflies-- presented here on a circular mobile hanging from a pole. (He would find success in their capture, if the blasted pole would just be still!) Likewise Hokanson gives an arthritically decrepit portrayal of a black-bearded Mr. Barrymore, with equally savvy comedic timing and hilarity. Notwithstanding, Jennings carries the brunt of character-shifts, expertly portraying over fifteen female (and male) characters who alternate in the blink of an eye, either on cue, or via comical mishap-- all of whom leave a lasting imprint on the story. As Ms. Barrymore, Jennings' atrocious dialect (is it German, Russian, Czech, or perhaps a speech impediment??) and hysterical mourning is ridiculously clever and farcical. In direct contrast, Jennings' Mrs./Ms./Miss Stapleton (seriously, who is this woman?!) is a bouncy haired and gracefully love-struck English damsel, who falls hopelessly for Henry and his righteous handlebar mustache. Although forbidden, (and maybe a little bit oogy) their love story has certainly caught our attention. 

An inventive set design is crafted by Director Robyn Mead, Scenic Artist Kasey Bush and Master Set Builder Bill Wash. Lighting and Projection Designer Melinda Cotton provides an artistically thoughtful backdrop which greatly aides in timely and appropriate set changes. Sounds and special effects is creatively provided by Greg Cotton. 

Allen Contemporary Theatre's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery bustles with whimsical energy and spirted sport! You are sure to cry real tears-- of laughter! Baskerville runs through May 19, so hurry and grab your seat before this hilarious show sells out! Tickets are available are at

Y'all Enjoy!