Perhaps it is because the protagonists – Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson—traffic in solving mysteries that one walks away from City Lit’s THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES considering it a puzzle--
Is it Dr. Watson’s facial expression of barely contained pleasure when Sherlock Holmes compliments his intellect? (James Sparling as Sherlock Holmes; Adam Bitterman as Dr. Watson)
Or is it just Bitterman’s richly resonant voice transporting us to the feel of listening to an oldie time radio show drama?
Or is it also Sparling’s physical bearing like a praying mantis resting in an armchair ever ready to spring into action?
Or is it the violin in the corner receding back and forth in our awareness to be the screeching hound of the title or like movie music telling us a quickening of the plot is afoot? (Composer Ben Chang; Violinist Eugene Kaler)
Or are we just so enjoying the clever patter and plot turns that poured from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s pen?
There is nothing elementary about solving the puzzle of why City Lit’s production of Doyle’s classic THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES satisfies so deeply. But in this writer’s view, no matter WHODUNIT the deed is done--- this is one heckuva fun production. For more than two hours we escape headlines and our daily cares. If you too have once devoted many hours to watching black and white grainy Sherlock Holmes films or more recently delighted in the series’ updated revival on public television, you especially can’t go wrong with this production. You too might agree that of all the Dr. Watsons we have known, Bitterman’s is the best of the best.
City Lit Keeps it Clever
The rest of the cast does a good job too. Terry McCabe’s adaptation and direction has kept the clever repartee of Watson and Holmes undisturbed.
The one flaw, in this writer’s view, is the curious aquarium motif set design—moor décor??-- featuring bricks mortared in a way that would inevitably collapse.
With set limitations so easy to tune out, City Lit’s THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES is otherwise 100% charm.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
James Sparling, Adam Bitterman, Dylan S. Roberts, Dylan Jost, David Fink, Rebecca Sparks, Hilary Hensler, T.C. Fair, Alex Demetralis, and Jerry Bloom
Ray Toler (set), Daniel Salazar (lighting), and Lily Grace Walls (costumes), original musical underscoring composed by Ben Chang.
Director and Adaptation by Terry McCabe
The novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Thru November 10, 2019
City Lit Theater
1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.