Review: THE 39 STEPS at DCPA is Chaos Incarnate

The King of Farce Reigns Supreme

By: Jun. 06, 2023
Review: THE 39 STEPS at DCPA is Chaos Incarnate

There are plenty of movies and written works that have transcribed for the stage. But, how many of them changed genres?

The 39 Steps at DCPA reigns supreme as the King of Farce. In other satrical works I have seen, there are so many times where I have felt those shows went, shall we say, overboard. DCPA's mounting is the "Goldielocks" of comedic theatre. The creative elements of the production also exceed expecations - something very hard to do given expectations are high for DCPA. The scenic design by Lex Liang and costume design by Kathleen Geldard were among the exemplary elements that contributed to the show as a whole. Their designs and executions each feel so intentional and truly help to define the show as "next level."

The cast of 4 people is best described as a professional volleyball team. Not once do they ever drop the proverbial ball - though perhaps a handful of stuffed animal sheep have found greener, heavenly pastures. Wearing a handful of character hats each, Nate Miller and Henry Walter Greenberg put the slap in slapstick. Both Miller and Greenberg are great individually, but the skills they combine make them a fierce comedic duo, especially because they each take advantage of the improv opportunities and generally just have fun with one another.  Without Greenberg and Miller, the story would move at a much slower pace.

Amelia Padlow, who portrays three different characters, is effectively a third "clown" in the show, though not listed as such. There is a controlled chaotic energy Padlow brings to each character that works in all the best ways. Padlow also has the responsibility to craft three distinct, separate characters, whereas Miller and Greenberg have the opportunity to establish a "thread" that connects all of their characters. Padlow takes the responsibility and makes it look easy. I only wish the show gave more time to her german spy character - she was my favorite!

In a show where everyone else plays mulitple characters, Marco Alberto Robinson has the hardest job of crafting one unique character that can last the whole time. Robinson's portrayal of Richard Hannay amounts to that of a "North Star" keeping the show moving lest it be steered off course. Robinson carries with him such a finesse to masterfully bring a character to life that is relatable to the audience. The character could easily become rather "high brow" but Robinson keeps the audience engaged and on his side from start to finish.

The 39 Steps at DCPA highlights what is so great about satirical works, especially when you consider the original source material(s) were certainly not satire. I would even argue that farcical plays are harder to produce succesfully. Everyone can be a drama queen, but can you become a king of comedy? The 39 Steps runs at DCPA through June 18, 2023.


Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at the Arvada Center Photo

You're not too late, baby, to catch Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, now taking the main stage at the Arvada Center.


What did our critic think of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC at DCPA? The biggest theatre name in town continues to produce granduer productions - even those that have 'small' in the title. Directed by Chris Coleman, DCPA's A Little Night Music fills the space like only they can: with top notch performers and clever, intricate staging. Coleman's direction accompanied by Kevin Copenhaver's costuming and Robert Mark Morgan's scenic design all work cohesively and give the actors quite the stage to stand on.

Second Show Added For Hasan Minhaj in Denver Photo
Second Show Added For Hasan Minhaj in Denver

AEG Presents and Comedy Works Entertainment welcome HASAN MINHAJ: OFF WITH HIS HEAD coming to Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre at The Denver Performing Arts Complex on Friday, November 10th & Saturday, November 11th.   Learn more about how to get tickets for the second show here!

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Reveals Cast For CLYDES Photo
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Reveals Cast For CLYDE'S

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) Theatre Company has announced the full casting and creative team for Lynn Nottage’s critically acclaimed comedy Clyde’s. Find out who is starring in the show here!

From This Author - Jon Bee

Jon Bee comes to Denver by way of St. Louis, MO. A longtime musician and thespian, he has worked with the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, as well as STAGES St. Louis, both in the administrative... (read more about this author)


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