Review: THE 39 STEPS at Castle Craig Players

Run through May 19.

By: May. 04, 2024
Review: THE 39 STEPS at Castle Craig Players
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On Friday, May 3rd, I had the pleasure of seeing yet another first-rate production by the Castle Craig Players at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT!  This stellar cast keeps the audience entertained with their excellent stage presence, stage chemistry, and positive energy, as this intriguing story unfolds, THE 39 STEPS, which is adapted by Patrick Barlow from the movie by Alfred Hitchcock and the novel by John Buchan.  Director Todd Santa Maria helps bring out the best in this phenomenal cast featuring Matthew Griffiths, Angelina D’Albero, Matt Monitto, and Gabriel Sousa.   

I was not previously familiar with this show, but seeing it performed by this cast, I feel as if they elevated it to heights that were never reached before!   This casts’ delivery, mannerisms, and comedic timing shine through in ways far superior to that which could be detailed or explained in a script.   The constant laughter and applause from this lively packed house strongly suggests that the rest of the audience tremendously enjoyed this show, as I did!

This farce is set in the 1930s in London and Scotland.  After a woman is murdered in the apartment of Richard Hannay (Matthew Griffiths), he becomes the suspect, despite his innocence.  On the lam, he encounters numerous people, without knowing who he can trust, while they don’t know whether they can trust him.  Richard Hannay also has the goal of clearing his name by catching the true murderer, and finding out what “The 39 Steps,” is or are, that the murder victim had referenced, before she died.  Matt Monitto, Gabriel Sousa, and Angelina D’Albero all shine in the multiple roles they perform, some of which are very different from their other roles in this show.  It is very easy to forget that there are only four cast members (other than a very brief cameo of a fifth), because the versatility of these cast members is so strong.  On-stage shifting of one article of clothing to perform different characters enhances the humor.  The Scottish burrs and other voices performed by the cast members also bring this show to life.  Another amazing talent this cast displays on stage is creating the appearance of being caught in a strong wind, through their movements, and shaking of their clothing in just the right way.  They do this so convincingly that I initially thought that there were fans blowing from backstage.

The sound effects and background music are amazing!  From music that hinted at a romantic moment about to happen, to “Cadence to Arms,” it all fit perfectly with the show.  The sounds of wind were very convincing, too.  The sounds of bleating sheep are also a nice effect, during a scene where a car is forced to stop, due to sheep in the road.  The only time I recall seeing untended sheep on the side of a road is when I was in Scotland, so this brought back that memory.

Will Richard Hannay be able to prove his own innocence?  Will he catch the real murderer?  Will he catch pneumonia?  What are or is “The 39 Steps?”  Come to the show to find out!

I highly recommend THE 39 STEPS which is scheduled to continue to run through May 19, 2024.  For times and tickets, please click the button below.


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