The 39 Steps is about a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit. The Hitchcock movie of the same name has a dark tone, but anyone expecting a moody mystery is in for a shock. The Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of The 39 Steps is more Monty Python than suspenseful drama and delightfully so.
The whirlwind play features only four actors, but between them they take on the roles of a man on the run, police officers, a newsboy, underwear salesmen, a Scottish farmer and his wife, spies, a milkman, a performer, a dead body or two, and more! The show makes liberal use of simple props, which adds to the constant stream of laughter.
Getting the audience to enjoy slapstick comedy and cheeky jokes for two hours can be a difficult task, but the IRT maintains the hilarious high throughout the show.
Tom Aulino and the always excellent Rob Johansen deserve massive kudos for their nonstop performances. Both men pull on costume after costume, donning wigs and various hats, to portray the majority of the shows revolving door of characters. They manage to do it with the necessary seriousness to keep a straight face, all the while winking at the absurdity of their task.
The show’s other two actors, Matthew Brumlow and Sarah Nealis, do as great job as well. Brumlow has a particularly interesting task of playing the straight man while everyone else is running around swapping skirts for slacks. Despite the danger, or perhaps because of it, his character is clearly thrilled to be caught up in the madness.
The 39 Steps is the perfect way to close a strong season; with a theatre ringing with audience laughter and eagerly anticipating the 2011/2012 season.
Don't Miss the Show
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "The 39 Steps" runs until Sunday, May 4 on IRT's Main Stage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com IRT will open its next season with Dracula in September.
Photos Courtesy of the Indiana Repertory Theatre