As the end of November draws near, why not kick off the winter holidays with a play about the world’s greatest detective?
From November 25–27 and December 2–4, the ITR Theatre Company—which has been producing theatre for the people of rural South Ottawa for nearly 50 years—is proud to present Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, an adaptation of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most iconic novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
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After reading the script for Baskerville nearly two years ago, Shauna Akkermans, ITR’s communications director and director of the show, pitched the script to ITR’s board in 2021 as a possible entry for their 2022 fall show.
“I was looking for something fun to put forward,” she says. While Akkermans had considered scripts from other novel adaptations, including classics such as The Great Gatsby and Alice in Wonderland, it was ultimately the script for Baskerville that stood out: “I was trying to find something with an iconic lead character… and I fell in love with the script.”
While the novel the script is based on is well-known for its horror elements, Akkermans says ITR’s performance of Baskerville differs. Rather than trying to be serious, the play focuses more on making people laugh and ensuring they have a fun ride.
“This stage adaptation of it is interesting in a couple of ways. First, it is actually done with a cast of five, who play just over 40 characters between the five of them. So one plays Sherlock, one plays Watson, and then the other three play the sort of chorus of all the other characters. It’s a high-energy, whirlwind adventure story.”
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Along with its fast-paced and energetic performances, courtesy of local volunteer actors, Akkermans says Sherlock Holmes’ popularity as a character is also a big draw.
“When you’re picking your lineup for the year, obviously, you want to put on shows that are meaningful to the theatre company, but also, you want to put on shows that are going to attract an audience. I love Sherlock Holmes, and I think a lot of people do as well.”
“This is really a labour of love for the cast and crew who have been volunteering for months to put this show on,” adds Akkermans, who also mentions how the show is easily accessible to local community members. “We’re producing it in Osgoode, so people don’t have to drive for 35 minutes to get to a regional theatre in the city.”
Considering how much harsh and troubling news we see or read about daily, Akkermans highlights how a performance like Baskerville offers people the opportunity to escape from reality and says it is a “really good way to get some laughs in and support some local art.”
Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery plays Nov. 25–27 and Dec. 2–4 at the Stuart Holmes Arena, 5660 Osgoode Main St. Tickets are $20. For more information about tickets and showtimes, visit ITR’s box office here.