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.


Matthew Broussard Comes to Comedy Works Landmark, October 5 - 7 Photo
Matthew Broussard Comes to Comedy Works Landmark, October 5 - 7

Matthew Broussard is performing at Comedy Works Landmark from October 5 - 7. Learn about his background as a financial analyst turned comedian and his appearances on shows like The Tonight Show and Conan. Don't miss this heady and self-effacing comedy act!

Hannah Einbinder Comes To Comedy Works Larimer Square, October 5 - 7 Photo
Hannah Einbinder Comes To Comedy Works Larimer Square, October 5 - 7

Comedy Works has announced that Hannah Einbinder will perform at Comedy Works Downtown in Larimer Square.

Denver Art Societys At Ease Art Night Set For Next Month Photo
Denver Art Society's At Ease Art Night Set For Next Month

Join us for Denver Art Society's first of its kind event, At Ease Art Night, on Saturday, October 21 from 6-10 p.m. Experience art, relax, and have a great time at 734 Santa Fe Dr., Denver. Visit for more info.

TERRY FATOR: A VERY TERRY CHRISTMAS Comes to Bellco Theatre in November Photo
TERRY FATOR: A VERY TERRY CHRISTMAS Comes to Bellco Theatre in November

The Zarlengo Foundation presents TERRY FATOR: A VERY TERRY CHRISTMAS at Bellco Theatre on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 7pm. Learn more about the show and how to get tickets 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... Jon Bee">(read more about this author)


#repshow# in[i]# Ballet Ariel opens with “Aurora’s Wedding,” the third act of “Sleeping Beauty”
Mizel Arts and Culture Center (10/07-10/15)
#repshow# in[i]# Stories on Stage presents "Message in a Bottle"
Dairy Arts Center (10/13-10/15)
#repshow# in[i]# Colorado Ballet Presents Swan Lake
Ellie Caulkins Opera House (10/06-10/15)
#repshow# in[i]# Colorado Ballet Presents Coppélia
Ellie Caulkins Opera House (3/08-3/17)
#repshow# in[i]# Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver
Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre (9/01-9/30)
#repshow# in[i]# Vintage Theatre presents "Cabaret"
Vintage Theatre (9/15-10/22)
#repshow# in[i]# The Revolutionists
Loft Theatre (10/06-10/15)
#repshow# in[i]# Colorado Ballet Presents Jekyll & Hyde
Ellie Caulkins Opera House (2/02-2/11)
#repshow# in[i]# Sundyne
Sundyne (1/01-12/31)VIDEOS
#repshow# in[i]# Mamma Mia!
Buell Theatre- Denver Center for the Performing Arts (10/31-11/05)

Recommended For You