TAO presents “The Hound of the Baskervilles”
Olympia’s most outlandish theater troop, Theater Artists Olympia, in co-production with The Oufit from Tacoma is doing Steven Canny and John Nicholson’s spoof of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in the basement of the Eagles Club in Olympia.
Everything about this play but the script and the acting is cheap and tawdry. Come to think of it, the script and the acting are too, but intentionally so and with a comic effect that is for the most part right on the mark – the mark being your funny bone.
The venue itself is cheesy and cheap, through an unmarked and barely lighted door and down steep stairs into a large, clean typical basement space where hard metal folding chairs have been lined up to face a makeshift stage. The set – a door on rollers that is turned around to change from indoor to outdoor settings and a few folding panels on wheels that are moved about to represent different settings such as the Baskerville manor and the moors – looks cheap and, with the exception of the door, are totally unnecessary. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and maybe it doesn’t bother others as much as it does me, but I hate it when stage hands constantly move set pieces around in full view of the audience. In most plays it destroys the flow of the action and takes the audience out of the play. It may be argued, however, that in this play it becomes part of the comic set-up that plays right into the manner in which the actors repeatedly break the fourth wall to argue with each other and with the audience. It’s funny when the actors step out of character; it’s not funny when stage hands move walls around (the exception opening night being when stage manager Eric Mark couldn’t get part of a wall to stand still and ad-libbed a comment).
Where: The Eagles Club Underground, 805 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia
More information: olytheater.com or brownpapertickets.com