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Review: THE 39 STEPS at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

Review: THE 39 STEPS at DreamWrights Center For Community Arts

Only three performances left!

The 39 Steps began its life as a novel by John Buchan in 1915. In 1935, it was adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock. The first adaptation of the story for the stage was written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and consisted of a cast of just four actors. This parody, loosely based on the novel and film, was rewritten by Patrick Barlow in 2005 and opened on Broadway in 2008. While the novel and film are serious spy stories, the play is a comedy through and through, often alluding to other Hitchcock films. This small-cast show requires a very versatile cast, capable of playing a multitude of roles. The 39 Steps take the stage at DreamWrights Center for Community Arts for one weekend only-October 28-30.

Director Jay Schmuck's staging of this production of The 39 Steps is highly creative, with multiple entrances for the cast and set pieces and three sections of seating for the audience. The costumes, coordinated by Izzy Masquelier with assistance from the costume crew of Elise Lanteign-Marrow and Chloe Miller, are appropriate for the time period of the show as well as adding to the spy-thriller-comedy atmosphere of the show. They are also well-designed for the many quick changes executed by the cast. The lighting and use of projections to set the tone for each scene is well done. While the music and sound effects fit the show well, because of where this reviewer was sitting, they were too loud, sometimes covering up the dialogue. One of the most entertaining parts of the production is watching Rio Gonzalez and James Manjo, who deserve a round of applause for their work as "The Spies" who are responsible for many of the set changes. They keep the show moving quickly and manage large set pieces with seeming ease-all while taking on the character of spies and maintaining their characters throughout the show.

The cast consists of Matt Setzer (Richard Hannay), Chloe Lanteign-Marrow (Pamela Edwards), Hannah Kuhn (Annabelle Schmidt and Margaret McTyte), Rodd Robertson (Clown #1), and Becky Marcus (Clown #2). There were times on opening night when diction and projection could have been better, particularly given the fact that, with the audience on three sides, there are instances throughout the show when the actors have their backs to parts of the audience. However, the entire cast was hugely entertaining. Kuhn is quite believable as the femme fatale, infusing the character of Annabelle Schmidt with a wonderful air of mystery. Lanteign-Marrow's character is the opposite-the law-abiding, prim and proper Pamela, who turns Hannay into the police on multiple occasions. Her character particularly comes to life during her trek through the moors handcuffed to Hannay and their night hiding from the police in the Hotel. She is a great counterpart to Setzer's Hannay. Setzer and Lanteign-Marrow are adept at physical comedy and have great timing in their scenes together. Perhaps the most challenging characters in the show are the Clowns, who take on a variety of roles, often changing characters multiple times in the middle of a scene. Robertson and Marcus work well together as the Clowns and manage their character shifts seamlessly. They provide endless laughs.

To say much more about this production of The 39 Steps at DreamWrights would give away too much for a show that really has to be seen and enjoyed. The cast and crew have put together an immensely entertaining evening, so get your tickets quickly. There are only three more performances, and tickets are going fast! Visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2206308®id=194&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fdreamwrights.org%2F2022-season%2Fthe-39-steps%2F?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1 for show information.



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Andrea Stephenson’s love of music and theatre was nurtured by her parents. She started performing as a singer and actor in elementary school, and her passion for the performing arts grew thro... (read more about this author)


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