“The 39 Steps” played on Broadway for almost a year and was nominated for a Tony for Best Play (and later a Best New Comedy winner at London’s Olivier Awards)”. The 39 Steps” is perfectly at home now at the New World Stages in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen.
At New World, the stage is more intimate, bringing the audience right into the thick of things in this fast-paced, fast-talking suspense comedy, based on the Alfred Hitchcock 1935 classic and paying tribute to most every one of Hitchcock’s famous movie scenes.
With all its plot twists and scene changes, it’s hard to believe this intricate whodunit has only four actors. Just four!! Only John Behlmann as our leading man Richard Hannay plays one role while his three costars take on many parts. But don’t think Behlmann has an easier ride of it. He is put into so many situations – from Hitchcock’s famous crop dusting scene from “North by Northwest” to the shower scene of “Psycho,” Behlmann is busy and seemingly very much like the movie star he pays tribute to in his performance.
Kate MacCluggage keeps on pace with him, bringing with her three roles an array of accents, making each character fresh and original.
But the show belongs to Jamie Jackson and Cameron Folmar who play every other part. Didn’t really count, but that is likely 50-60 roles – and sometimes at the same they take on multiple parts in the same scene, thanks to a quick duck to change a hat or a spin to show the other side of a cleverly constructed dual costume. It reminded me of Nancy Opel’s multiple personalities she portrayed in New World’s “Toxic Avenger.” Liek Opel, these actors are amazingly fresh, wonderfully vibrant and the masters of slapstick and do such a great service to the production.
Additionally, it was smart to bring over Kevin Adams from the Broadway production in which he won a Tony Award for his clever lighting design. Adams’ work brings so much depth to every scene, including his clever way to recreate Hitchcock’s cameo in the production.
For those visiting New York and try to get as many shows in as possible, “The 39 Steps” also has the special distinction of being one of the few shows that plays on a Monday – so keep that in mind.
To check out the show, go to www.39stepsny.com.