Even if you’re not a rabid fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s cheeky thrillers, your funny bone will be convulsing over the shenanigans in Moonbox’s production of THE 39 STEPS (@ BCA through Dec. 9th). British playwright Evan George Patrick Barlow’s 2004 adaptation of the Hitchcock classic won him all manner of awards, from London to Broadway. (Before it became the 1935 Hitchcock film, THE 39 STEPS was published twenty years earlier as a serial spy novel. Although its origins are endlessly fascinating, its delightful transformation to the stage is what makes it a knockout.)
You see, aside from the protagonist, a dashing Canadian who finds himself drawn into the thorny world of European espionage, all the other characters are portrayed by three actors for whom fast paced comedy is mother’s milk. Kevin Cirone oozes panache as the accidental hero, brandishing that emblematic wit that spits squarely in the face of adversity. Director Allison Olivia Choat stops just short of winking, as she maneuvers Cirone out of windows, off speeding trains and into rushing waters to escape the various clutches of villains, dolts and n’er-do-wells (all audaciously portrayed by Matthew Zahnzinger and Bob Mussett).
Sarah Gazdowicz is hilarious as a literal femme fatale and even more intriguing prospects for our hero. Huzzahs to dialect coach Daniel Blackwell. Gazdowicz’ provocative accents alone make her irresistible. And Zahnzinger’s left eye which overflows with greed, not to mention its Scottish owner’s impenetrable brogue is simply delicious… And Mussett’s curiously odd vaudevillian, key to the thirty nine ways to subvert Nazis and save the world is both delectable and disarming! I could go on and on, about the ingenious staging and brazen liberties taken to serve up a guffaw…
There you are. Laughing your self silly and forgetting all about present day Nazis and impending doom. Thank you, Moonbox.