The 39 Steps

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This show was another one lost forever in my tiny red book. But I shall try to remember it for you.. This show was so energetic it was contagious! The 39 Steps is based on a Hitchcock classic and played at the Criterion Theatre. Before I even mention the play, I have to say that I was severely disappointed with the theatre. I had a seat on the ground level below the stage, very far away. So far away that my vision was partially obstructed by the deck above me filled with people that were probably able to see some of the bits I could not. I could see the stage but the production used high balcony seats at some points and I could barely see one seat and the other was completely obstructed. I think I know what was going on, but this play was pretty whimsical and crazy so who knows? Other than that it was really fun. The 39 Steps website (http://www.love39steps.com/) describes the show as “4 actors, 130 characters in 100 hilarious minutes.” That is actually a pretty accurate description. There was one man who was the main character, a woman who played a couple characters, and then two hilarious and extremely talented men played all the other characters. Being an actor, I was sufficiently impressed with the energy and stamina needed for this play. These characters were running everywhere, cross-dressing at different points, putting on different accents the same way they put on different hats, all in an extremely fluid and comical way. The sets were fun and very practical for the kind of work they needed to do (move around, have a closet pull out into a bed, etc.) Also, I loved how they used doors in this play (is that a weird thing to write?). If some character exited a room, more often than not, he/se flipped the door and there would be something hanging above or next to the frame to show that it was “outside” and not “inside” and vice versa. For example, one door had a deer head mounted on one side of it to implicate a study. Turn it around and it is quite obviously the kitchen from where our character just exited. Also, characters would act out the elements such as wind by waving their coats, scarves, etc. in a really amusing and (if you squinted enough) realistic way. This play was a pretty standard comedic performance with regular costumes, and practical sets. The factors that were most important to me were the energy of the actors, the fast paced-ness of the show in general (it went by so fast!), and the way it put together an elaborate show with quite non-elaborate set design, costumes, etc. I enjoyed this play, and if you would like to get a small taste of it yourself (assuming you can’t go to London to see it in the near future), you can go to the website I mentioned earlier and they actually have a video trailer for it. Enjoy!

Till next time readers!

~A

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