February 23, 2015

The Hound of The Baskervilles

Sherlock Holmes is a perennial favorite at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. The Hound of the Baskervilles is the latest in a line of successful adaptations of the infamous detective to hit their stage. Sir Henry Baskerville (Eric Parks) returns to England from Canada after inheriting a manor. Unfortunately he may have inherited the family curse as well. Suspicions abound and red herrings are everywhere as we travel to the barren English moors. David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright’s adaptation is beautifully done, adding some delicious twists to the already wonderful tale. The fog is as thick as the tension and the audience is sucked in from the first moments of the eerie opening scene.

At its heart, each Sherlock play depends heavily on the casting of the main duo. It’s the antagonistic tête-à-têtes between the detective and his trusty sidekick that make each of their adventures so enthralling. This production offers up Marcus Truschinski as Holmes and Matthew Brumlow as Dr. Watson. It’s a match made in casting heaven. Those two are supported by a superb cast of IRT favorites at the height of their game. I have to say, I love that core company members from the American Players Theatre, (a fantastic Wisconsin theatre), keep popping up at the IRT. Truschinski joins Cristina Panfilio, Eric Parks, and Will Mobley in the list of actors from this play who have appeared in both theatres.

Two particularly outstanding elements in this show were the lighting and the costumes. Lighting Designer Thomas C. Hase set the mood for each scene with his unnerving beams, which silhouetted characters or allowed them to creep in the shadows. Tracy Dorman, the costume designer, leant her skill to the show as well. Though most of the characters wear dour shades of black and grey to traipse about the moors, Dorman uses pops of color in all the right moments. From wigs to walking sticks, the clothes were perfectly suited; like Miss Stapleton’s dinner party dress, a pink frothy confectioner’s dream and Hank’s scarf and jacket which suggested his rougher roots. Most of the cast tackled at least two roles in the show, which offered up another costuming challenge, but Dorman handled it with ease.

The Scenic Designer (Kevin Depinet) had his work cut out for him as well. The show moves from Sherlock’s cluttered office on Baker Street to the wild moors. It also contains some of the largest moveable scenery the IRT has ever used. Even though it’s long, stretching to 2 hours and 40 minutes with two intermissions, the time flies by. It’s so well-paced that it hardly slows down at any point and there’s certainly enough content to justify the time.

Don't Miss the Show
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. “The Hound of The Baskervilles" runs until March 15th on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

Photos Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre

February 16, 2015

Crazy for You

Take one irresponsible city boy who just wants to dance, add a strong-willed no nonsense country girl, toss in a few money troubles and mistaken identities and you have a formulaic but fun show. Beef & Boards’ current musical “Crazy for You” is a romance wrapped in nostalgia.  

The show premiered in 1992, but it’s actually a reworked version of the 1930s’ “Girl Crazy.” It certainly feels more in step with musicals like “Annie Get Your Gun” than anything created in recent years. The Gershwin score includes songs like, “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” It revolves around the Zangler’s Follies, a thinly veiled version of the real Ziegfeld Follies.

Bobby Child, played by Blake Spellacy, is our city boy. He heads to a dusty town in Nevada to foreclose on a theater for his domineering mother’s bank. Once in Deadrock he immediately falls for a local girl named Polly and decides the only way to win her is to pretend to be the world famous Bela Zangler and put on a show. There’s a particular entertaining tap number, “What Causes That?” when Bobby and Bela (Eddie Curry) meet up. 

Hillary Smith shines sweetly as the whiskey-shooting Polly Baker. She’s doesn’t swoon for the first fella she meets, but once she’s hooked there’s no going back. Her numbers have a forlorn sincerity about them that’s hidden away as she bustles about the town. As the only woman in Deadrock she’s tough on the outside and hides her vulnerability. 

The production wins you over with its silly jokes and unfettered enthusiasm. What could feel cheesy feels sweet and fresh and the familiar songs leave you humming along.  

Don't Miss the Show 

Performances: The show runs until April 4. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The buffet is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For Wednesday matinees doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the buffet is served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show begins at 1 p.m. For Sunday matinees doors open at 12 p.m. and the buffet is served from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The show begins at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $40 to $65 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.

Photos courtesy of Beef & Boards