One wonders what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would think of Jobsite Theater’s fast-paced and funny stage version of his suspenseful novel “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Three male actors play all of the roles — Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville, as well as the supporting characters. The result is more wackiness than suspense.
The tongue-in-cheek production follows in the tradition of “The 39 Steps,” a sold-out hit last season in the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center.
The play is in preview beginning Wednesday, opens Jan. 10 and runs through Feb. 2. “Our first weekend is sold-out, and we are on track to have another hit,” says David Jenkins, the theater’s producing artistic director/manager.
Jenkins also co-stars as Dr. Watson. He was last seen as Coleman in “The Lonesome West.” Actor Giles Davies plays Sherlock Holmes and other characters. Shawn Paonessa is Sir Henry Baskerville, and he takes on the supporting roles as well. “There are no female actors in this, so Davis plays all the female roles, which makes it interesting,” Jenkins says.
The story has Holmes and Watson investigating mysterious deaths at the Baskerville estate, where the family has been living under a curse.
“The 39 Steps” and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” originated as British comedies in 2005 and 2007.
Directing the Jobsite production is Katrina Stevenson, who has a talent for this type of play. She directed Jobsite’s “The 39 Steps” and the company’s “abridged plays,” including “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” “The Bible: The Complete Word of God,” “The Complete History of America” and “All The Great Books.”
“Having Katrina do this is a no brainer, because those previous productions were successful,” Jenkins says.
Davies has appeared with Jobsite as Macbeth, as well as in “Fahrenheit 451” (Beatty) and “Quills” (The Marquis). He also has performed one-man shows based on Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens and “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.”
Paonessa was last seen at Jobsite in “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.” Paonessa’s and Jenkins’ Jobsite comedies include the “abridged” plays and the title roles in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”