The 39 Steps:The Mystery of the Spectacle
This once black and white film of terror, turns a new leaf from the tree of Alfred Hitchcock films and lands effortlessly with a vibrant, comedic twist onto the stage of the Criterion Theatre.
The mystery of ‘The 39 Steps’ lies not only in the plot of the story but also in the anticipation for the playwrights ability to transform this well-known terror into a beloved comedy. There is no doubt that Patrick Barlow, the playwright for ‘The 39 Steps’, succeeded with numerous alluring international reviews including one from the London’s own ‘Guardian’ which describes the show as “Uproariously jolly and splendidly inventive.”
Although I viewed a single performance of ‘The 39 Steps’ at the Criterion Theatre in London on Thursday, the 17th of July, 2014; The play itself was first performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2005 and has since played in numerous theaters around the world.
With an adept cast performing one of the most anticipated revision of any screenplay, I could not have been happier with the outcome of the theatrical comedy. The limited set was one of the best reflections of the creativity instilled in the production. Luggage trunks doubled as benches in a train and then a scene later represented the individual train cars, as main character Richard Hannay jumped from roof to roof, avoiding the police. The limited cast of 4 was no different than the set, in the sense that the creativity and passion from the actors filled the stage better than any efforts that could have been achieved by a full cast for each of the 139 characters portrayed.
My favorite actor was Greg Haiste, who enacted many of the roles for the evening’s performance. Never before have I seen such a confident, well versed actor, who had no fear in tackling ‘The 39 Steps’ as the role of ‘Man’.
‘The 39 Steps’ will continue to thrive in theaters of the UK due to the quick wit and constant references to surrounding countries.
I had no idea what I was going to witness upon arrival however I can now say that I would strongly consider visiting this performance again, if for nothing else than to simply witness the various interpretations of each character through a newly appointed cast.
The Mystery is, without a doubt, a compelling fragment of the Spectacle.
- C. L. London, England 2372014