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Theater Shows
39 Steps, The

Step by step.

centerstage reviewed this performanceReviewed by Centerstage!Go Chicago!

Venue:
Bank of America Theatre
18 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603 Map This Place!Map it
Cost:
$20-$72
Tickets:
http://www.chicago-theater.com/

Styles

Related Info:
Official website

Performances
Runs May 19, 2010-May 30, 2010

Friday8 p.m.
Saturday2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Thursday7:30 p.m.

reviewed performanceCenterstage Show Review
Reviewer: Rory Leahy
Wednesday May 19, 2010

"The 39 Steps" is a comedic adaptation of one of Alfred Hitchock's early films, the story of Richard Hannay, a bored playboy, portrayed by Ted Deasy in the charmingly befuddled Every Englishman way of hapless protagonists from Bertie Wooster to Arthur Dent. One evening Hennay goes out to the theater where he encounters a Teutonic femme fatale named Annabella Schmidt (played, along with other female characters, by Claire Brownell) who claims to be a spy, trying to prevent rival agents from stealing the secrets of British air defense. Hennay discovers her dead the next morning and is framed for her murder, which leads him on a quest both to clear his name and to discover the truth behind the espionage scheme.

The play is essentially a series of setpieces, betraying its cinematic origins: Hannay seeks refuge on a train, then in a farmhouse, then at a party where he comes face to face with the evil Nazi saboteur who is the mastermind behind his troubles (Spoiler Alert: The Allies win World War II).

The most notable thing about this production is that a cast of four entertainingly conjures dozens of characters onstage, the full complement of a classic feature film. Deasy plays Hannay alone, but the other three cast members (Brownell, Eric Hissom, and Scott Parkinson) each play multiple roles, sometimes simultaneously, which, along with frequent, broad nods to other Hitchcock films and a good dollop of Pythonesque silly walking, contribute to the show's farcical feel.

The show is part of the "Broadway in Chicago" program wherein Loop theaters import blockbuster shows from New York. While "The 39 Steps" is passably amusing in its lighter than air spirit, you can find funnier stuff homegrown in many a Chicago storefront.

The 39 Steps is a comedic adaptation of one of Alfred Hitchock’s early films, the story of Richard Hannay, a bored playboy, portrayed by Ted Deasy in the charmingly befuddled Every Englishman way of hapless protagonists from Bertie Wooster to Arthur Dent. One evening Hennay goes out to the theatre where he encounters a Teutonic femme fatale named Annabella Schmidt (played, along with other female characters by Claire Brownell) who claims to be a spy, trying to prevent rival agents from stealing the secrets of British air defense. Hennay discovers her dead the next morning and is framed for her murder, which leads him on a quest both to clear his name and to discover the truth behind the espionage scheme.

The play is essentially a series of setpieces, betraying its cinematic origins: Hannay seeks refuge on a train, then in a farmhouse, then at a party where he comes face to face with the evil Nazi saboteur who is the mastermind behind his troubles (Spoiler Alert: The Allies win World War II).

The most notable thing about this production is that a cast of four entertainingly conjures dozens of characters onstage, the full complement of a classic feature film. Deasy plays Hannay alone, but the other three cast members (Brownell, Eric Hissom, and Scott Parkinson) each play multiple roles, sometimes simultaneously, which, along with frequent, broad nods to other Hitchcock films and a good dollop of Pythonesque silly walking, contribute to the show's farcical feel.

The show is part of the "Broadway in Chicago" program wherein Loop theaters import blockbuster shows from New York. While 39 Steps is passably amusing in its lighter than air spirit, you can find funnier stuff homegrown in many a Chicago storefront.

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