WE REVIEW “THE 39 STEPS” AT THEATRE 29, MATINEE SUNDAY

WE REVIEW “THE 39 STEPS” AT THEATRE 29, MATINEE SUNDAY

The manic, high-energy comedy “The 39 Steps” is running at Theatre 29 through September 13, with performances this Friday and Saturday night and a Sunday matinee. Managing editor Tami Roleff was in the audience Opening night and offer this review…
“The 39 Steps” is a funny, mad-cap play in the best traditions of Hollywood’s screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, and the cast at Theatre 29 pulls it off well. The play follows the plot of the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, but as a comedy instead of a thriller. Leonard Weber, as Richard Hannay, takes home a mysterious woman in black, Annabella Schmidt, played by Karissa Matlock, who talks about spies and weapon state secrets. When she’s murdered in his flat, Hannay goes on the run to find out who really killed her. We watch as he’s pursued across the roof of a speeding train—or actually, a pretend train—and the audience accepts the illusion with a grin. Along the way Hannay meets an assortment of characters, the lovely Katie Van Sumeren as Pamela, who is forced to go on the run with him when they’re hand-cuffed together, and Kylie Robinson as Margaret, the farmer’s wife. But the biggest applause must go to Cyrus Short and Ben Bees, who transform themselves into 150 different characters, sometimes playing multiple characters at the same time with just fractions of a second between them. They steal the show and you can’t wait to see what they’re going to do next. There are lots of references to Hitchcock films. While I missed several jokes because the actors didn’t project their lines, they do a fabulous job of creating illusion that is true theater.

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