“The 39 Steps” at The Warehouse Theatre
This past Friday Eliza and I went to see the performance of “The 39 Steps” at The Warehouse Theatre. This is the second to last show of the 2011-2012 season at the Warehouse. To date, this is the only show this season that I was unable to attend during opening weekend (due to being at a friend’s wedding down at the coast), and so this review is coming a bit late.
As with the other performances this season “The 39 Steps” was superbly acted and directed. This was the second show this season (the first being “Stones in His Pockets“) that relied on a minimal cast to play many roles (only four actors but a great many parts) which makes the acting all the more impressive.
I like the basic concept of “The 39 Steps” in which a Hitchcock suspense story is turned into a comedy almost purely by the absurdity of circumstance and the utilization of the minimal cast. In many ways, making the story into a comedy turns the whole concept of a noir-ish suspense story on its head, which is deserving of praise.
The first act is tightly written and hilarious. Hardly a moment passed in which we were not laughing. Unfortunately the second act slows down quite a bit, and while there are still laughs, it is not quite as tight or enticing as the first act. I should not, however, that I do not attribute this slow down to either the acting or directing, but more to the writing of the story.
All around a worthwhile show though. Very funny and entertaining. The continuing theme of relatively simple set design (more than say “Stones in His Pockets” but still quite simple) worked well for the show. The use of shadow puppets and voiceover narration was highly effective in the comedic production. All around he look and feel was wonderfully enjoyable.
The Warehouse Theatre continues this season by demonstrating how professional and entertaining a small non-profit theatre can be. Each show has been a pleasure to attend and “The 39 Steps” does not disappoint in this regards. The show runs through May 12th so definitely try an check it out if you are interesting. It is a very good time.