Oooh, now here’s something you don’t see everyday. What do you say to a mashup of Alfred Hitchcock and… comedy? This isn’t a late April Fools joke, I assure you. A combination of such genres sounds interesting, to say the least. The result of such an unorthodox pairing is “The 39 Steps,” a play that recreates the classic Hitchcock film with a unique twist.
I know what you’re thinking, you skeptic. Mashups of differing breeds rarely work. For every genius mix like peanut butter and chocolate, there are several hundred failures. Examples of things that don’t go well together: fish and cheese, breakfast cereal served in orange juice, or logic and government. Alas, there must be a breakthrough every so often. After all, someone had to break that ceiling to find the edible parts of fugu, right? It appears “The 39 Steps” is one such innovation, and you don’t even have to risk eating toxic blowfish to enjoy it.
A two-time Tony award winning show, “The 39 Steps” is an adaptation of the 1935 espionage film. The twist, as mentioned earlier, is that only four actors portray over 140 roles. Yes, you read that correctly. Filled with frenzied costume changes and references to other Hitchcock films played for laughs, the production has become a funny love letter to the Master of Suspense himself.
Ah, but this not a mere wacky romp on stage. The play has credentials. Debuting in 2005 in London and Broadway in 2008, it garnered wide success and acclaim. It received London’s prestigious Lawrence Olivier award (for Best Comedy), and won two Tonys and a Drama Desk award here in the States.
Curious yet? I thought so. Here’s a little glimpse:
The master of suspense with a Monty Python-esque spin? Count me in. Who knew Hitchcock and silliness would go hand-in-hand? I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, since the great British director gave us decades of source material to mine (and even parody). It’s a rare opportunity to see a director of thrillers enjoyed in a fresh new way. Let’s face it, others of the genre will never approach the level of Sir Alfred. In 50 years, no one is likely to mix farce with the cinema of Brian De Palma. And M. Night Shyamalan? Let’s just say I’d rather try fugu.
So if you’re ready for a fresh and fun new spin on classic Hitchcock, feel free to join us for “The 39 Steps.” Inspired by the original Master of Suspense, the laughs are sure to been more silly than macabre. It’s a mad concoction that not only works, it will leave you in stitches.
Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps dials M for Mockery at The Paramount Theatre on Tuesday, April 12th at 8:00 p.m.