The production of a Sherlock Holmes mystery starts tonight at the Hamilton Playhouse.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles,” a gripping story about the curse of the Baskerville family and the killer-hound which stalks its members, is Colton Mason’s directorial debut.
“This is just a good, fun murder mystery starring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson,” Mason said. “The first scene is set in London, the second scene is set in Devonshire at the Baskerville hall.”
The plot is that Sir Charles Baskerville has died under mysterious circumstances and his family has been threatened. The heir, Sir Henry, enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve the mystery, thwart the menace and end the suspense.
Mason has wanted to direct since appearing in his first onstage show at the playhouse “Once Upon a Mattress” in 2016. He competed on the Corvallis Speech and Debate team in high school and was the assistant director of “Charlotte’s Web.” He is now an economics student at the University of Montana and arranged his class schedule to fit the rehearsals.
Mason said the production has a “fantastic cast of fantastic actors.”
“They do great acting for this great plot,” he said. “We have nine actors, for an intimate, intense production.”
The cast includes Kurt Owens as Sherlock Holmes; Garrett Peck — Dr. Watson; Toni Daguerre — Dr. Mortimer; James Carter — Sir Henry Baskerville; Dave McCormack — Barrymore; Christine Coffin — Mrs. Barrymore; Austin Mowat — John Stapleton; Randi Burdette — Beryl Stapleton; and Macy Jacobson as Laura Lyons.
Owens was originally cast as Barrymore but now portrays Sherlock Holmes.
“I came to Sherlock Holmes late but being Sherlock Holmes is fantastic,” Owens said. “It is very iconic, everyone knows who he is and they have a preconception. I’m curious about what they think of my spin on his character.”
Owens said he has always wanted to portray the master of sleuth.
“My father grew up with Basil Rathbone, my mother loved Jeremy Brett from BBC but I really liked the way Robert Downey did it because it was kind of an American spin even though it was British. Sherlock has endured through the ages.”
Owens said his favorite part is in the beginning when he is trying to make a point to Dr. Watson.
“I have this big stick in my hand and make a big joyous release,” he said.
James Carter is making is stage acting debut as Sir Henry Baskerville.
Carter played high school football in Arkansas but an injury forced him to look at performance arts. He moved to Montana last summer.
“We all moved up here as a family and I took up acting to have something else to do,” he said. “I got to be an extra on the Yellowstone TV-show. I was a double for Kayce, which was cool in that I got to meet a lot of people.”
Carter said for “The Hound of the Baskervilles” the British accent was challenging at first.
“I practiced and now it is going really well,” he said. “I’m enjoying it. Theatre is fun and the play will be great. My favorite part is when I’m flirting with Beryl Stapleton (played by Randi Burdette). It is hysterical how I’m pursuing her and not getting any luck.”
Mason credits the success of the production to the crew who gave him suggestions, guidance, effort and their creativity.
“Without them I couldn’t have done this,” Mason said. “Really all the glory goes to them.
The crew is Colton Mason — director and set designer; Rich Thomas — set builder; Mara Luther — assistant director; Bonnie Wickham — costumer; Melissa Beck — stage manager and artist; Emilly Patterson painted the moors.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles” is great for all audiences, performed by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. and sponsored by Tammy and Gary Bedey.
“If you like Sherlock Holmes mysteries you’ll love this production whether you are nine or 99,” Mason said.
Enjoy the mystery and intrigue of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays April 12 – 28. For more information call 406-375-9050 or online visit www.hamiltonplayers.com.