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Murder, Intrigue and Laughs Abound in 39 Steps

Do you want intrigue? Are you ready for excitement? Or do you want humor to lighten your day? Perhaps some suspense to keep you at the edge of your seat?

If so, you need to see The 39 Steps at the nearby Orlando Shakespeare Theater. This play has been creating a buzz around campus. The wonderful acting talent and brilliant writing create an experience that you do not want to miss.

The play parodies the 1935 film of the same name directed by Alfred Hitchcock, famous for his unique directing style and creation of some of the most iconic films of all time. His use of suspense and perspective made movies like The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho unlike any other. The 39 Steps, in its homage to Hitchcock and his works, recalls the situations of one of Hitchcock’s most memorable films while alluding to many others in one amazing, worthwhile performance.

Set in London, the play revolves around a man named Richard Hannay. Just an average Joe, Hannay is thrown into a world of adventure when Annabelle Schmidt, a German secret agent on a confidential mission, is killed at an opera he is attending. Before she dies, she gives Hannay clues to her attacker’s identity and sets him on a path leading to adventure. Knowing only to look for a professor missing his pinky finger, Hannay is chased around Europe by the police—who believe he killed Annabelle—and two mysterious goons who provide comic relief.

The 39 Steps is fantastic for more reasons than its farcical take on the iconic plot; the actors’ performances were equally outstanding. The cast is small, consisting of only four members. One actor plays Hannay, an actress three of his romantic interests, and the remaining two men take on all the remaining characters, sometimes even playing multiple characters at once. The fast switches and scene changes made the play all the more exciting.

“The two goons were the highlight of the show,” said Erika Rasile ’14. “Their ability to embody so many different characters so well and so fast allowed for this minimalist play to shine forth with a full cast.”

The minimalism she mentioned refers to not only using fewer actors as the play also omits fancy lighting and scenery. The actors imagine the scene around them and convey that experience to the audience. They performed wonderfully, whether portraying the feeling of being out on a cold night or the whistling winds on a train.

The 39 Steps deserves more praise than fits into a review. Between the hilarious references to the thrilling moments of intrigue and adventure, unbelievable plot twists, and even unexpected romance, The 39 Steps has something for everyone.

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