Monday, July 21, 2014

39 Steps To What? From Thriller to Humor

     The first thing that comes to mind when seeing the title is that there will be 39 steps to something and we will find out what these steps are and what they mean.   That was the top question I had when watching the Hitchcock movie.   Of course there were no such thing as 39 literal steps which is what I was initally looking for.   It is a code name of a spy ring that I assume is part of a government agency.   In America, such agencies use code names to keep our adversaries from discovery.   I surmised that the same applies here.   The book by John Buchan that it was based on, makes it clear that 39 steps refers to the number of steps from the villain's cliff-top lair to the sea at low tide (according to the program guide).   So the title had at least something to do with 39 steps.   The guide also states that Hitchcock ignored this and used it as a code name for a spy ring.
    We took the tube to Criterion Theater with several minutes to allow for exploring the district.  That was quite eye opening to me to experience a theater district of that stature along the lines of New York City.   The walk towards Leicester Square was filled with many, many people, street performers, several theaters and many restaurants and shops.  Very exciting and festive.  I noticed that Phantom of the Opera was playing there and put it on my to see list.
    I entered the theater with wonderment and anticipation.   I was trying to imagine how they were going to interpret the Hitchcock movie in a humors way.   I was happy with my seat in the third row which gave great views of the action.  I was very impressed with the lighting and sound, which to my eye and ears were perfect.
    As I started to watch the play, I became immediately engrossed with the story.  Watching the Hitchcock movie ahead of time for me greatly enhanced my experience.  Every time I noticed the play using the same lines as the movie, I found myself connecting the movie more and more with the play.  Many times I have seen plays and frequently miss story lines if not familiar with the plot.  This time following along was seamless and effortless.   I felt the acting couldn't have been any better.  When I found out that "Man 2" actor, Paul Cristoph, was the understudy man, I was very surprised.  I don't see how that position could have been played any better.  He had the look, mannerisms and speech that were unmistakabley British.

   The humor was so good and it seemed to fit so well with the plot.  The only slight exception that I noticed was when the woman was stabbed, a more serious tone might have been appropriate.  This was not distracting though, just noticeable.   Perhaps that set the tone for a lighthearted scene that I couldn't see a connection to the plot. That was the brief knife stabbing in the shower, a mega famous scene from Hitchcock's "Psycho" which I thought was hilarious!  A bit of dark humor I guess, but I loved it!
  All in all, I enjoyed it very much and can highly recommend it and also recommend watching the Hitchcock movie ahead of time.    It's been a very long time since I have throughly enjoyed a play like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment