Theatre Critique – 39 steps
A play about spying: could be rather mysterious and uninteresting. Yet there’s one exception that manages to combine thrill, enigma, as well as action with laughter. “The 39 Steps,” proves to be an amusing, entertaining, and action-filled play. The play was written by Patrick Barlow for the Comedy/Spy audience, the result is a brilliant, fast-moving spoof in which the entire company, remarkably only four actors, entertain us all hugely with great skill and real wit. I was able to witness “The 39 Steps” at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton; we had travelled early evening and the play was expected to begin at half-past seven. I had a high anticipation for what the night would bring as for it being at night made me feel like the play was going to be dark and almost mysterious. The play was known for its wit and gags, which I absolutely love in a Comedy. Being a Comedy: I expected the mass use of props, physical theatre and cross-cutting. I was a little bit sceptical of the choice of only having 4 actors as I honestly thought to myself: “How on Earth is that possible?” but as the play progressed, the stage no longer belonged to 4 actors; it belonged to 139 characters and it seemed 139 actors. The way they interchange is extraordinary. In the tram scene, one of the 2 most versatile men on stage, changed his hat during the scene a countless number of times, and you believed it all and it was hysterical. The whole pace of the show is amazing; it’s really fast and full on, gathering an exciting momentum all the time, and all the cast work together seamlessly like a well-oiled machine. They also recreate a variety of sets and locations with just a handful of props – a few suitcases, a door, a window frame, a very jolly toy train and with the help of a very lively lighting and sound plot. As for the backdrop, it never really changed and as an audience member I expected major set change; however I was proven wrong due to...
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