Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”

Daniel O'Brien, A&E Editor

Patrick Barlow’s uproariously comical adaption of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” delivers like a bullet to the funny bone.
This spoof of spies, murder, and romance begins in London, 1935.  Bored bachelor Richard Hannay (Jason Shores) allows secret agent Annabella Schmidt (Sonja Nelson) to follow him back to his flat.  She is killed by foreign spies and Hannay finds himself on the run as the murder suspect.  While being pursued by the police, Hannay goes to Scotland to try to pass on Schmidt’s information about the mysterious 39 Steps.
This comedy is pulled off wonderfully with a combination of slapstick, British humor, and a feel of vaudeville.  Shores is excellent as the pursued Hannay.  Nelson graces the stage by playing as not one but all three of Hannay’s romantic interests.
It is Marcelline Anderson and Randy Briest, however, who truly steal the show.  They double as many different zany and outrageous characters throughout the production.  They even go the extent of switching between different characters (and costumes) while on stage.  The whirlwind of energy they create together would have made Laruel and Hardy proud.
A highlight of the play is that many set pieces are used.  The actors interact with these pieces in hilarious ways.  One example is the window of a farmhouse, which is really wooden square held by the actor.  Another example is the foreign agents’ car (a bunch of chairs with a life preserver steering wheel).  It does not take much effort from the actors to use these pieces cretively.
Also, the many costume changes that Briest and Anderson have to go through is simply impressive. They will be playing two outrageous characters in a scene, go offstage and come back almost instantly as different characters.
All in all, “The 39 Steps” is certain to entertain and will leave you in stiches throughout the entire show, even well after the curtain drops.