The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps

Last night, we concluded this year’s theater season. There were barely a handful of shows seen this season and social distancing seating limits the size of the house to about half of its full capacity, but at least we had a season this year, which more than can be said for the year before. We went to the Rep to see The 39 Steps, a comedy that is one part Alfred Hitchcock and one part Monty Python. This play had originally scheduled to be performed in February, but the Omicron outbreak delayed its opening. Hitchcock’s 1935 movie version of The 39 Steps was one of his first films in a catalog that eventually grew to be over fifty films. The plot of this film follows a man, Richard Hannay, who first becomes aware of an espionage conspiracy called the 39 Steps, is framed for murder and then chased by both the police and enemy spies all over Britain, before returning to the theater where it first began. The play that we saw loosely follows the same plot, except that Hannay is always accompanied through his travails by unending series of pratfalls, slapstick humor and jokes that allude to many of the other Hitchcock movies. There are only four actors in this play, one plays Hannay, an actress plays the three love interests in the show and two other actors play the other 140-plus characters that appear in the show. The show was a delightful lighthearted diversion that capped this Covid truncated season.

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