Just imagine pitching the following idea to a Broadway producer: We’re going to take an early Alfred Hitchcock espionage film from 1935 and turn it into a stage comedy. The cast will consist of just four people and three of them will have to play over 100 roles. Along the way we’re going to reference every Hitchcock movie made.
Well, against all logic, it works beautifully. We saw The 39 Steps on Broadway.
This was playing in London when I was there a year ago and I didn’t get a chance to see it then but, miraculously, the same cast that was in the London show is intact here in New York. Generally, they don’t bother to import a show unless they’re sure it’s going to succeed, so I had an inclination that it was going to be worthwhile. The tsunami of good reviews helped.
It’s a funny show but also a bit of an acting tour de force. Change a hat, change a character. I see a lot of small, downtown black box theater and I can assure you that not every actor can pull this sort of thing off. Some of them have a hard enough time getting set inside ONE character!
This is probably my last show of the year. When I review the list of plays I’ve seen in 2008, it looks like it was a pretty satisfying year for theater. 28 shows. Not bad. The counter resets to 0. When I get tired of the long, late train ride home to New Jersey I’ll stop going but until then I’m going to take advantage of living out here.