by Lorie Lewis Ham
This weekend in the midst of catching Rogue Festival shows, I went to see The 39 Steps at 2nd Space in Fresno, and it was the perfect ending to a long, fun day!
The 39 Steps is a melodrama adapted from the 1915 novel by John Buchan, and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock. The play takes the full dramatic spy story of the Hitchcock film and turns it into a comedy, filled with allusions to (and puns on the titles of) other Alfred Hitchcock films such as Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo, and many others.
While the original 2005 version of the script calls for only four actors, this version has a cast of six, and even with the extra two actors, they have a crazy amount of costume and character changes so I can’t imagine doing the show with even less actors! James Sherrill plays the hero of the play, Richard Hannay, with charm, wit and lovely comedic timing. Emily Pessano plays Hannay’s three love interests in the show with the skill you expect to see from her–her wonderful comedic timing shining through.
However, I would have to say that the other four actors often steal the show, switching from role to role so quickly–at times even playing objects and providing sound and special effects. The other characters are called clowns and are played by Tyler Branco, Billy Anderson, Teddy Maldonado, and Kaichen McRae. Tyler and Billy’s accents were wonderful, and every time Tyler comes out in a dress it is a riot! They were all just amazing!
For a Hitchcock fan, this was such a fun show! I enjoyed listening for all the movie titles throughout the show. It was also one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and so well acted. Not a single person missed a comedic beat. And to show that you don’t have to be a Hitchcock fan to enjoy it, my son was with me and he’s never seen a Hitchcock film, yet loved it just as much as I did. If you enjoy a good mystery and a beautifully done comedy, do not miss The 39 Steps!
I also know how incredibly important the director is, so kudos also to Denise Graziani–I will be watching for her name as a director in future shows. All the rest of the crew did a great job as well–as always at 2nd Space–hats off to you all for an amazingly funny show!
The 39 Steps is on stage at 2nd Space in Fresno until April 19. Tickets can be purchased on their website, or by calling the box office at 559-266-0660. You can also find more info on their KRL theatre event page.
Check out more theatre reviews in our Arts & Entertainment section!