Actor Damon Bonetti gives us some details on the hilarious twist of a Sherlock Holmes classic at Theatre Horizon

-Brenda Hillegas
Feature photo: Damon Bonetti in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Photo by Alex Medvick.

A Sherlock Holmes classic with a twist! The Hound of the Baskervilles is a comedic spoof of the classic Sherlock Holmes novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. You can see this unique, fun retelling at Norristown’s Theatre Horizon for a limited engagement between November 10th and December 8, 2019. Tickets and more info can be found on the theatre’s website.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, three actors (Theatre Horizon favorites Damon Bonetti, Steve Pacek, and Dave Johnson) take on all sixteen of the crazy characters. We spoke with Damon-  a Philadelphia born actor, director, musician and teacher- about his involvement in the show, his favorite character to play, and his great contributions to the Philadelphia theatre scene.

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Q: How did you become involved in The Hound of the Baskervilles at Theatre Horizon?
A: This will be my 3rd production of this show with director Matt Pfeiffer- we just finished it at Delaware Theater Co.

Q: Did you read Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels before joining the production?
A: I LOVE Sherlock Holmes – I’ve been a huge fan since I was a kid. I’ve read all of them many times and seen many of the movies and TV shows.  My favorite Holmes being the great Jeremy Brett from the ’80s.

Q: You, along with two other actors, play all 16 characters in this play. Of the ones you play, which are your favorites?
A: Stapleton!   My In-laws are Brits – so I’ve based a lot of the vocal inflections of Stapleton on my Uncle-in-law Julian. He’s just this ridiculous villain.  Not Julian! Stapleton. Julian is a very nice man.  I just massacre his dialect.

Q: What are some of your favorite things about this play?
A: There is a constant awareness with the audience that we are watching a play – there’s a fun theatricality with trunks becoming a sauna and then a cab and then a train.  Quick changes that happen lightening fast – the show is a machine with as much action happening backstage with the crew as onstage.

Q: You’re also co-founder of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective which brings rarely performed classical plays to life in the Philadelphia area. What made you decide to establish it?
A: My co-founder (Dan Hodge) and I love these plays and no one at the time was doing them. We started The PAC to tell these stories – many times staging them in site-specific locations that enhance the play. We wanted these plays to really breath and feel relevant, staging them with the kind of fierceness and clarity that not only ourselves, but others would find exciting too.

Q: You were born here in Philadelphia, what are some of your favorite roles or projects to date in the Philadelphia theatre scene?
A: Besides Co-Founding The PAC and the work I’ve done with our company, I’ve loved doing Hapgood and Red Velvet at the Lantern.  Also Arsenic and Old Lace and The Glass Menagerie at The Walnut Street Theater. I’ve also directed two world premieres, True Story and Goldilocks Zone, and the East Coast Premiere of The Gun Show at Passage Theater in Trenton.

Q: As a teacher at both Rutgers and Drexel, what is an important piece of advice you give to your students?
A: Never take anything for granted, buy into the reality of the situation you are in on stage and get what you want.

Q: Why do you think people will enjoy The Hound of the Baskervilles?
A: It’s a super fun night out – two hours of absolute silliness – a chance to laugh with a room full of people who are there for the same reason you are: to have a GREAT time!

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