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East End Theater Review: There's No Mystery - "Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery" Is A Winner In Quogue

T.J. Clemente

Tina Jones, Matt Conlon, Duncan Hazard, and Ben Schnickel. (Photo: Tom Kochie)

The Hampton Theatre Company's production of Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery had the audience at the Quogue Community Center laughing, applauding and totally entertained all afternoon during its opening week Sunday matinee. At the end, the audience stood as one and applauded.

Director Diana Marbury successfully tapped into her wealth of knowledge of all things theater and masterfully put together a sophisticated strategy combining amazing versatile acting, set changes, lighting effects, and almost sleight of hand illusionary techniques to make this show move at a fast and exciting pace.

The versatility of this talented small cast was on display all during the performance as the actors changed characters, accents, wigs and costumes in a dizzying array of set changes. The stage crew themselves, led by George Loizides, were stars in this show for their lightning speed and precision in the more than 60 set changes and over 300 cues. In my ten years of reviewing plays, this was the first production where I walked up to the stage after the show to congratulate the stage crew.

All five of the actors are phenomenal. I have been a Matthew Conlon fan for years and again he brought his "A" game as Sherlock Holmes. Matthew owns the Quogue Community Center stage and has a confidence on stage equal to his booming voice and comical nuanced technique.

Duncan Hazard was a consistently likeable and applaudable Dr. Watson. Mr. Hazard has a very wonderful rapport with the audience and a certain stature that is warming.

However, it was the extreme versatility of Andrew Botsford, Ben Schnickel and Tina Jones that launches this production to the highest level of pure entertainment. There is no doubt Ms. Marbury fine-tuned these actors but their combined effort is worthy of some individual praise.

Tina Jones moved around the stage in her many roles bringing forth many of the loudest belly laughs from the audience. Her physical comedic acting skills were on full display as she shined all night long in each of her rolls with a different distinct accented voice used for each character. She even hilariously plays a boy.

Andrew Botsford, a popular Hampton Theatre Company player, was equally game as he too changed rolls, accents, and costumes at lightning speed. His timing delivering punchlines is a gift from god. He is terrific!

Last, but not least, was the performance of Ben Schnickel who perhaps had some of the funniest moments in the whole show. His acting as a painting is without a doubt one of the funniest moments I have ever seen on live stage in my life. The roar of the audience concurred. Kudos and accolades to Ben!

There is no doubt director Diana Marbury used all her talented might in making the actors gags and gag lines hit their marks. She created an entertaining show, a wonderful fun experience for the audience, along with important theatrical moments. I am guessing this is a show you can see a few times and catch a new comedic nuisance you may have missed beforehand. I intend to see it again. How often do you read that in a review?

I must also applaud and mention: Sean Marbury, Set Design and Set Construction; Ebastian Pacyznski, Lighting Design; Diana Marbury, Set Decor; Teresa Lebrun, Costume Design; George A Loizides, Rehearsal Stage Manager, Backstage Crew/Props; Carlene Descalo, Rehearsal Stage Manager; Seamus Naughton, Sound Design; Aaron Levine, Lighting/Sound Tech and Set Construction; Nick Fitzgerald, Backstage Crew and Set Construction; Roger Moley, Projections; Lisa Carr/Sonya Hubbard, Box Office; Joe Pallister, Production Graphics; Julia Morgan Abrams, House Manager; Tom Kochie, Production Photographer, and Sasha Marbury, Franklin Sengarima, and Peter Vork, Set Construction.

The Hampton Theatre Company's production of Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the Quogue Community Center is a winner.

Shows will be on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, November 9, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening. A talkback with the cast will be offered following the Friday, November 1 at 7 p.m.

The Hampton Theatre Company is offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. A special lunch and theater package is also available for the Saturday matinee on November 9, with lunch before the show at the Quogue Club at the Hallock House.

Tickets are $10 for students, $20 for those under 35-years-old, $25 for seniors, and $30 for adults.

The Hampton Theatre Company is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For reservations and information on all packages and available discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org.

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