The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sacramento theater audiences are familiar with fast-paced spoofs at the B Street Theatre, in which a small cast (aided by crazy wigs, fake beards, kooky hats and men-in-drag) send up a familiar standard. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s The Hound of the Baskervilles applies this well-worn approach to Sherlock Holmes, using a tidy trio of talented leading men, who vamp across the stage for two hours in perpetual motion, with rapid costume changes and jokes delivered at a breakneck pace.
Lynn Robert Berg plays Watson—who helpfully points out that he should be treated as the star of the show, since he has the most lines. Dougfred Miller plays the redoubtable Holmes, as well as several supporting characters. Jeffrey C. Hawkins, a regular at Tahoe during the last few summers, plays just about everybody else. Director Charles Fee keeps them running on and off throughout, with punch sound cues for added emphasis.
Purists who prefer their Arthur Conan Doyle done straight should be advised that this campy, hyperactive version is entirely irreverent. It’s not what you’d call elegant or elevated humor. But the performances are sharp, the punchlines timed perfectly. The audience of summer vacationers at Lake Tahoe gobbled up this frothy, sugary show like hungry diners at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Those who are seeking more nutritious theatrical humor should check out the company’s other show, Love’s Labour’s Lost.