Sunday, August 25, 2019

The 39 Steps ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG BANG

You go to some plays for the story, some for the theatrical flash. The 39 Steps has a little of both but it's all about the acting. Four actors alone bring dozens of characters alive with Ron Campbell and Cassidy Brown playing many of them simply by switching hats. We have seen this show several times over the years, with different casts each time, and we have loved every one. (Brown also starred in the 2011 TheatreWorks version, with Dan Hiatt as his hilarious sidekick.) This latest production is filled with the same zaniness and belly laughs. We love it once again.

Lance Gardner plays ace detective Richard Hannay, currently suffering through a cold spell. He is only too happy to become involved in a caper that may or may not save England from an unnamed enemy who could or could not be about to smuggle information of some kind out of England or Scotland. 

His partner would have been Annabella Schmidt, except for the well-placed knife.

Schmidt is played, for a very short time, by Annie Abrams, who also plays Pamela, Richard's possible true love, except for the handcuffs. As for the enemy, Campbell and Brown manage to play all of them with nothing less than comic genius. The enemy is pretty danged dense, but then again so are the English.

The show belongs to Scotland. Why are Scots so easy to lampoon? We could probably figure it out if we weren't laughing so hard. 


This year, as eight years ago, we give The 39 Steps THREE STARS with two BANGLES OF PRAISE. It's the same show in 2019, just as funny and every bit as light-hearted and fun. Special mention for the car scene, in which the car gets built out of stage props as we watch, and we mustn't forget the hotel clerks and the knife in the back/lever. Oh, and Mr. Memory. And the police dogs. And just about everything else.

"The 39 Steps"
Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Through Sept. 15

No comments: