By Chelsea Hutt, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – Though it has a modest theatre space, the Frances Marion Brown Theatre brings in a decent crowd and the cast does not fail to impress the audience.
The classic Sherlock Homes mystery, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” made its debut last weekend.
The production was put on by the Oswego Players, who share the building with the Art Association of Oswego.
Only one set was used for the two-act play, but the cast made it look impeccably detailed. The setting was held in the sitting room of Baskerville Hall, with a painted library of many colorful books, working “oil” lamps that were built into the set, a paned window and a working door that led to the moor.
The set also incorporated two paintings done by Peter Mahan, an art teacher at Hannibal High School.
At the start of the play, Lady Agatha Mortimer wanders Baskerville Hall. One can tell she is in mourning; and the audience soon learns she has called the detectives to investigate the mystery of Sir Charles Baskerville’s death on the moor.
Mahan plays the lead character, Sherlock Holmes, a detective who is trying to solve the mystery of the Baskerville estate. His associate, Dr. Watson, is played by David J. Russell.
When they arrive on the moor, Lady Agatha, portrayed by Kelly Mahan, tells the eerie legend of the distant ancestor Sir Hugo Baskerville’s curse on the family. Sir Hugo was attacked by a monstrous hound on the moor long ago, and ever since the heirs of the estate fear for their lives.
Throughout the play, Holmes and Watson share quite a few clever remarks towards each other. The characters seem to have a very good chemistry, and cause the audience to burst out in laughter numerous times. This mystery has more humorous comments than one might expect.
Another comical effect of the play is the character of Jack Stapleton. The drawling, snobbish air that Norman Berlin III transmits is apparent as soon as he steps on the stage. One presumes that his character is harmless despite his temper, which is shown from time to time, especially toward Sir Henry.
Sir Henry, portrayed by Bobby Fontana, is the last living heir of Baskerville Hall. He is scared for his life by the curse.
His only comfort on the moor is beautiful, giggling maiden Kathy Stapleton. It is revealed that Kathy is Jack’s sister, and it seems that he controls her every whim.
As Sir Henry and Kathy’s romance increases, strange events commence. The plot thickens when secrets are revealed concerning the Barrymores. The audience meets Laura Lyons, the daughter of a neighbor living on the moor, who also concedes a secret that concerns her and the late Sir Charles.
Near the conclusion of the play, a storm starts brewing outside, which is surprisingly believable. The special effects of the play include lightening flashes and sounds of thunder and rain, as well as a supernatural sounding howl of the hound.
Not only is there a change in weather, but in a few of the characters’ demeanors as case of the Baskerville beast is solved.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” gave the audience a good laugh.
However, this humor throughout the play did not take away from the suspense. The story of the hound creates intrigue and the suspense culminates up to the climax filled with commotion, and ultimately, justice for the murder of Sir Charles Baskerville.
Under the direction of Troy Pepper, never is there a dull dragging moment within the play, and the ending is sure to surprise.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” continues in the Frances Marion Brown Theatre in the Fort Ontario Arts Complex on Oct. 15 and 16 at 8 p.m.
There will be a matinee on Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices are: Adults – $10; Seniors – $8; Students – $7.
Reservations may be made by calling the Players Box Office at 315-343-5138.