German Village Gazette

Actors' Theatre of Columbus

Troupe spoofs classic Sherlock Holmes tale

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Danny Turek (left) as the Cabbie, Ben Sostrom (center) as Sherlock Holmes and Beth Josephsen as Dr. Watson rehearse a scene from Actors' Theatre of Columbus' production of The Hound of the Baskervilles . The show will be staged at 7 p.m. Sept. 5-7 and 12-14 on the Columbus Commons downtown.

An updated, hilarious look at a suspenseful novel will close out the summer season of Actors' Theatre of Columbus.

The German Village-based troupe will perform an adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1902.The novel features detective Sherlock Holmes, who's trying to solve an attempted murder traced to an evil dog believed to have supernatural powers.

All shows will begin 7 p.m. Sept. 5-7 and Sept. 12-14 on the Columbus Commons. Performances are free and open to the public.

Actors' Theatre's version is a three-person play featuring Danny Turek, Beth Josephsen and Ben Sostrom, all of whom play many different roles, some as the opposite sex.

"That just adds to the hilarity," said John S. Kuhn, artistic director of the theater group.

"I think it's a great introduction to the whole world of Sherlock Holmes for those who have no previous knowledge of it. Because it's a comedy, it makes it easier for us to explore new things."

Set in Dartmoor in southwest England, the story centers on a family that has been haunted by a demonic hound. The most recent resident of Baskerville Hall, Sir Charles Baskerville, has died.

Meanwhile, Sir Henry Baskerville, Sir Charles' nephew from Canada and the only known heir to the estate, arrives in England to claim the Baskerville inheritance. Concerned for the nephew, the local doctor, James Mortimer, goes to London to ask Sherlock Holmes for help. Holmes and his companion, Dr. Watson, agree to investigate.

"It's kind of like a Scooby Doo episode: it's a little spooky, it's a little funny," director Geoff Wilson said. "It's appropriate for kids but there are some things the adults will get that will go over the kids' heads. And like a Scooby Doo episode, we all know how it ends."

Kuhn said Holmes presents a cutting figure: highly intelligent, acutely aware of his surroundings and a dogged pursuer of the truth.

"That kind of brilliance is attractive to audience members," Kuhn said. "And for those reasons we would hope to open that up to a new audience. That would be awesome."