Review: Silliness and Suspense Abound in THE 39 STEPS at New Village Arts

Playing through May 12th

By: Apr. 20, 2024
Review: Silliness and Suspense Abound in THE 39 STEPS at New Village Arts
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It is a novel and a hit film, but now New Village Arts brings all the mystery, murder, and imagination of “The 39 Steps” to life in this comedic Hitchcock homage through May 12th. 

Patrick Barlow’s adaption of this thriller with a cast of four allows for lots of opportunity for comedic quick changes, and creativity in this warmhearted spoof of Hitchcock’s most famous film devices and characters.  The four-person cast of Kenny Bordieri, Reden Magtira, Dallas McLaughlin, and Erica Marie Weisz (along with understudies Nick Siljander and Liliana Talwatte) builds a world full of murder and mystery that is playfully tongue-in-cheek. 

Review: Silliness and Suspense Abound in THE 39 STEPS at New Village Arts

For those unfamiliar with the movie, it follows a Hitchcock formula - put an ordinary man into an extraordinary situation.  Innocent Canadian Richard Hannay (McLaughlin) is in London on vacation, and while at a theatre seeing two vaudeville performers (Borieri and Magtira), a beautiful woman (Weisz) approaches him and asks for help.  He does as she asks, and the next thing he knows he is caught up in a web of intrigue involving international spies and highly prized secret information that could cost him his life.

As Hannay struggles to stay alive, solve the mystery, and get the girl, he traverses from London to the Scottish moors and back again. The cast uses a variety of accents (dialect coaching by Gerilyn Brault), wigs and costumes (by Grace Wong), creative use of props, and scenic design (by Frank Seed) as the suspense, and the silliness build.

Review: Silliness and Suspense Abound in THE 39 STEPS at New Village Arts

Directed by Dr. AJ Knox (who also did the sound design), the cast playfully creates iconic scenes with only a few items and a lot of imagination and they all have moments to shine.  They battle the wind as they flee across the top of a speeding train, play with size and scale as they maneuver through a Scottish castle, or try to escape while handcuffed to one another.  Even with the many nods and jokes referring to Hitchcock's classic movies, the show never loses its sense of theatricality, with the performers breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience, purposefully late cues, and more for added laughs.

McLaughlin with his mustache and three-piece suit is a perfectly gentlemanly Hannay, who has found himself in an international mystery but doesn’t know who to trust.  Weisz is a sophisticated spy, a sweet Scottish lass, and a classically cool Hitchcock blonde, all with a healthy dose of humor spoofing those character tropes.  Bordieri and Magtra have the most shape-shifting as they slip in and out of dozens of characters by donning hats, wigs, accents, and having a seemingly inexhaustible energy. 

The fun of “The 39 Steps” is that these four nimble performers bring this thriller to life with plenty of laughs.

How To Get Tickets

“The 39 Steps” is playing at New Village Arts through May 12th. For ticket and showtime information go to 

Photo Credit: Daren Scott Photography


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