Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: (Vancouver, touring BC) The 39 Steps

Shawn Macdonald, Diana Coatsworth, David Marr (photo by David Cooper)

Without a Hitch
by Jay Catterson

The hugely successful "Hitchcock meets Hilarious" stage romp The 39 Steps gets the Arts Club Vancouver treatment for the second time; this time the show hits the road for a small tour around British Columbia's Lower Mainland. 

The stage show is lovingly adapted from the iconic Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name by Patrick Barlow, which is based on the novel by John Buchan. The charm of this show is that it is entirely performed by four actors, and the creative use of lighting, props, and set pieces to illustrate the various quick scene changes, and the many role changes that these actors have to embody, is a delight in itself.

Arts Club Vancouver definitely knocks it out of the park again with solid direction by Dean Paul Gibson, and an effectively simple, yet mood inspiring set design by Ted Roberts. Kudos to the four leads for tackling the frantic, yet zany roles. The dashingly handsome Jay Hindle, who portrays the hero Richard Hannay, provides a great anchor in support of the three other actors: Diana Coastworth, who provides the three female roles of the show, and Shawn Macdonald and David Marr, who play all the other characters (and sometimes the occasional inanimate object). In my opinion, Macdonald and Marr are the true standouts of the production, and definitely steal the show, but overall, the ensemble exemplifies true physical comedy with panache. 

The 39 Steps is a great night out filled with laughs, and it is definitely worth taking a trip out to the suburbs to catch this campy, clever, yet loving homage to Hitchcock. Highly recommended. 

Tour continues to March 16

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