Stage Co Presents: The Hound of Baskervilles

Sep 12, 2014

It is as if even the weather has conspired with the The Stage Company’s cast to transport us from hot and humid Southeast Missouri to England’s West Country, where the fogs of the moors give everything an ominous and mysterious feel.

If you are a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle and his classic English detective Sherlock Holmes, you will want to make sure you see “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, which opens tonight at 7:30 p.m., at the Historic Rodgers Theatre.

Though she has been with Stage Company for seven years, this marks Amy Pfeffer’s directorial debut. From a director’s standpoint, it has its challenges. This is not theatre to attend for belly laughs and sheer entertainment.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is all about mood and intellectual character.

For the actors, neither is it easy. It is a production which will allow for no slippage of character. To maintain an authentic British accent during the entire show is not easy. The dialogue is precise, just as Sherlock Holmes was. These are characters who choose their words carefully, so staying true to the script is of the utmost importance.

The cast has met that challenge and so authentically brought the characters and mood of the story to life that one wants to slip onto stage with them, pull up an uncomfortable-looking chair in front of the fireplace, and sip brandy as the story unfolds.

For those unfamiliar with the story, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is the third of four crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead on the grounds of his country house, Baskerville Hall. This chilly, foggy setting is the scene of another attempted murder. Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson are there to solve the original crime, and also to protect Sir Henry Baskerville, who now has taken over ownership of the estate. But was the death of Sir Charles the result of murder, or did he literally die of fright after witnessing a mysterious creature so terrorizing that he dropped dead of a heart attack?

As a member of the audience, you will follow Holmes and Watson into deducing the answers to many questions.

Amy Pfeffer could not have directed this story so well without the help of a masterful cast. Among them are actors Guy Henry McAndrew, Dr. Michael Malone, Carl Tony Miller, Lee Spilberg, Michael Starnes, Dot Tankersley, J.D. Dunn, Hilary Lawson, Vanessa Todd, Drew Pfeffer, and Grand Widener.

The production crew has also done an outstanding job of bringing together a set that also helps to transport the audience to another place and time with effective lighting and sound. Among the production crew are Tracy Tarpley, Chris Montgomery, Drew Pfeffer, James Kilgore, Mike Malone, J.D. Dunn, Grant Widener, and David Carroll.

The opening performance tonight will be followed by performances also September 13, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m. On September 21, there is a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, and $5 for those ages 12 and under.