Camp Baskerville

As many of you know, I am fond of Sherlock Holmes stories. Not the first fictional detective, he is the most popular and has the honor (sometimes dubious) of having been written as a character more times by authors NOT his original author than any other character.  Sherlock also holds the Guinness World Record as the “most portrayed movie character” – more than 70 actors in more than 200 films!


So I was intrigued when I learned that Park Square Theatre was doing The Hound of the Baskervilles this summer.  From looking at the website I could see that Holmes and Watson would be played by women and it didn’t look like it was being billed as a serious production.  A woman playing Sherlock didn’t bother me; if Ghostbusters and Dr. Who can be women, why not the most famous fictional detective.

Park Square is known for occasionally messing with your expectations but I was really unprepared for the audacity of the production, the sheer silliness. There were just five actors; if you’ve ever read or seen Baskerville, you know there are many more characters than that.  Normally this bugs me a little when actors play multiple roles, but I quickly got over it and in fact, they used it for comic fodder.  At one point towards the end, the actor playing Lestrade and Henry Baskerville did a “half and half”, turning from one side to the other – hysterical.

There was a lot of laughter; a few times so much so that I needed to wipe my eyes. Of all the different ways that I have seen or read Holmes, I have never experienced him as “camp” and I loved it.

If you have the chance, the production is playing for another week or so and I highly recommend it.. ESPECIALLY if you’re a Holmes fan.

When have you ever laughed until you’ve cried?


41 thoughts on “Camp Baskerville”

  1. I am fortunate at work to have a very funny cowoker in the office next to mine. She has a knack of seeing the absurd and delights in telling about it. We giggle a lot.

    I find I laugh the most when reminiscing about the past with old friends.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Laughing til I cry is something I do easily. The latest episode of this occurred at work about a month ago during an improbable even.

    As we always do, we (cotherapist and I) started our group with a mindfulness exercise—being mindful of the sounds around us for 5 minutes. We hear the birds outside; we heard a distant siren; we heard the rumbly, grinding whine of a UPS truck. Then a door slammed in the complex to the men’s room adjacent to the group room, all of which is inadequately soundproof. We mindfully heard the sounds of gastric distress next door.

    I started to giggle in front of a roomful of clients, then I laughed til I cried. What are the chances that you do a mindfulness of sound and that is the predominant sound?

    I still giggle when I think of it.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Why don’t my feeble mindfulness efforts lead that way?Tok the maintenance man and I two hours to get it in place and so we can close the door. Then it would not work. I asked if he had opened the valve lever for the water supply. He had not. Now working.


  3. Oh yes, I remember a few times. In college, I was in a production that rehearsed in the big U of MN Armory or something. All the old furniture, scenery and props from past productions were warehoused there so the acoustics were weird. Once time, we were rehearsing a very quiet, emotional scene with a single actor. Then someone flushed the toilet — which had the loudest, most echoing ba-woosh of any toilet ever. The lone actor tried very hard to keep it together. All of us there in rehearsal watching, tried but failed in holding it in. Finally, we all just burst out laughing at the absurdity of it. Classic Archie Bunker moment. We could not stop laughing and it took a long time for the actor to be able to continue.

    Another time at work here, a gal (who is a bit of a fun character) came to work wearing mis-matched sandals. Our boss noticed she had two different shoes on that didn’t match and took a picture for fun. We all laughed ’til we cried it was so hilarious. She was saying that she wondered why it felt like she was crooked while walking as the heels were slightly different heights. Luckily, she had the other sandal of each in her car. Fun stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was in that storage area a few times. Fun place.
      I find that many over the top laughing situations are not that funny in the retelling. It is the moment that matters.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I often find it very funny when actors have trouble holding it together on stage. The Tim Conway/ Harvey Korman dentist scene always pops to mind; even after having seen it many many times, it still makes me laugh. And there were a couple of times during Baskerville that the main character was clearly having trouble holding it together. That made it even funnier.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. On a golf trip years ago, while we sat in our cabin waiting out an endless rain delay, playing cards, one guy told quite the crude joke. Two of the men present were 20-30 years older than the rest of us, and even though they’re both wealthy, successful businessmen, they’re incredibly humble and regular guys (think “The Millionaire Next Door.”)

    These two old guys were totally taken aback by the joke but started laughing and couldn’t stop. The rest of us began to laugh because THEY couldn’t STOP laughing until some of us were literally rolling on the floor and most of us had tears in our eyes. That was some 16 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

    Chris in O-town

    ***Blatant Self-Promotion***
    Going Up North this weekend? I’ll be selling and signing copies of my novel “Castle Danger” at the Northwoods Arts Council rt and Book Festival in Hackensack, MN on Saturday, August 11, from 10-3. There’ll be dozens of authors present plus numerous other artists from around the state selling their wares. Food, games, music, fun for everyone and the weather should be great. What a great time to pick up what I call a “shore read” for your weekend at the lake cabin. Hope to see you there.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. OK fine, Chris. But if you do start one, never quit until it’s done. I’m patient, but I want to read what happened before!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. OT. If you didn’t see it later yesterday afternoon, Blevins is this Sunday. 2 p.m. ,Minnehaha Falls, our regular spot.


  6. Back in 1995 I was on a vacation to Tahiti with 6 other women. One evening, after having a bit too much to drink, we sat in chaise loungers by the pool to do some stargazing. As we stared at the sky, we tried to pronounce some of the Tahitian language words we had learned. A couple were real tongue twisters and as we mangled them, we got the giggles which soon turned into hysterical laughter. The hotel manager came out to chastise us for being too loud so late at night – we were disturbing the other guests.

    I have traveled to Africa twice with three friends. On each trip there were amusing incidents which we politely ignored at the time. Bill has quite the knack for storytelling and he later regaled us with embellished versions of the events that had us laughing so hard we were crying.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. VS, I saw Baskerville a couple of weeks ago, and had the same reaction you did. Hysterically funny and extremely well done. I, too am a Holmes fan and thoroughly enjoyed this comedic departure. Watson walking from place to place around the stage, still makes me giggle when I think of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love Sherlock Holmes and it sounds like a great production they put on, but I guess I have a hard time seeing “Hound of the Baskervilles” as campy or funny. Maybe I’m just remembering the movie, but ‘creepy’ is the word that comes to mind.


  8. I remember the first time I laughed that hard. I was in eighth grade, a perilous year for me. Our English teacher was a frosty, patriotic woman with no sense of humor. She was what people in the Fifties called an “old maid” (but now, of course, we would never say that).

    This teacher assigned us to read a short story that ends in a poem–a poem drenched in pious sentiment and archaic language. It describes the horror of living without a nation to love. The poem warns that for any wretch not in love with his country is doomed because”no minstrel’s rapture swells” for him. Each kid had to stand before the class reciting that poem from memory. The tension was unbearable. Many kids, including all the boys, were full of hormones, rebellion and stage fright.

    By an evil twist of fate, the first kid up was Dean Bailey, the class cutup. Dean’s recitation included the memorable line “for him no ruptured minstrel swells.”

    The room exploded. Kids literally laughed until tears spouted. I remember going limp, sliding down in my seat until I hit the floor, where I laughed in a puddle. Kids roared so loud that three teachers from other classes abandoned their classes and sprinted to our room to deal with the chaos.

    After Dean’s recitation, some kids were able to warble their way through the poem without error, but fully a third of them said “for him no ruptured minstrel swells,” and each repetition of that line set off a fresh chorus of howls.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m guessing that short story was “A Man Without a Country” and I remember at some time having to read it as well, although without the mandatory recitation it doesn’t stick much in my memory. The fifties and sixties were an odd time to be in school. There was still a certain amount of curriculum that was a holdover from before the war—from the thirties or earlier—and reflected an era and a sensibility that no longer pertained.
      My eighth grade english teacher had the wonderful name of Letitia Cruikshank and she was of the same generation as your teacher but was in no way pious. She was crusty and demanding and thoroughly memorable in a good way. I still have a grammar reference she had us all obtain and use it from time to time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Billy Nelson gets an A!

        Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
        Who ne’er to himself hath said,
        ‘This is my own, my native land!’
        Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d

        As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
        From wandering on a foreign strand?
        If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
        For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

        High though his titles, proud his name,
        Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
        Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
        The wretch, concentred all in self,

        Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
        And, doubly dying, shall go down
        To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
        Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I once lost a job from getting into a laughing fit that I just couldn’t stop. I was working at a Dayton’s camera department when I was 8 months pregnant. Someone brought in a faulty projector bulb with a large bubble protruding from it which made it look a very pregnant. With my large protrusion, it struck me as hilarious at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. this reminds me of sitting at my grandma’s funeral next to my cousin. We started giggling and couldn’t stop. My only recourse was to put my hands over my face and pretend I was crying.


  10. I crack up with some regularity., and when it happens I’ll laugh till I cry. It can be caused by something as simple as reading. If it triggers a visual image that strikes me as hilarious, I’m helpless. Hans will look at me crying and gasping for air, curious as to what has set me off this time, and rarely does he see the humor. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. (Will have to read these stories later.) This blog regularly makes me laugh out loud, and I’ll bet at least once a week I laugh with tears. I also laughed to tears at some of the stories step-son Mario told over the past few days, will try to weave some of them into a post at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

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