Chicago Theatre Review
No Missteps Here, Only the Best 39!
By Lazlo Collins
This Tony award winning play “The 39 Steps” is a faced paced monomyth, with intriguing characters, varied settings, and some greatly timed fog. The time tested story of intrigue and comedy is an easy evening of entertainment. With clever twists and staging, the story is never dull. I have seen this stage adaptation a few times, and I enjoy it every time. Drury Lane’s “The 39 Steps” is no exception.
Richard Hannay (Peter Simon Hilton) shares with us, from the beginning of the show, all about his ordinary life. This is soon remedied on his trip to the theatre. From then on out “The 39 Steps” is a delightful and fun filled thriller. Mr. Hilton is perfect as the handsome pencil thin mustached hero of our story. Mr. Hilton was perfectly tailored and accented. His affable demeanor and comic timing keeps the story on track. He is the only actor, in this four person show, the remains only his original character.
The other three actors take on multiple roles through this funny and visually appealing show.
The show’s heroine, Angela Ingersoll, plays both femme fetal and unwitting love fugitive. Ms. Ingersoll does an excellent job at both roles. She keeps the characters crisp, easily understood, and of course, funny.
As Clown 1 and Clown 2, Jeff Dumas and Paul Kalina, play ALL the REST of the characters. From passerby to polic
e and from wives to wisecrackers; these two men run, hang, drop, mug, and fall through the story of one man’s pursuit to stop the secret of “The 39 Steps” from getting through to the enemy. The pace of changing characters with the flick of a hat, or coat is an art in itself. The transitions these two actors go through are truly amazing. The play’s physicality is evident, and these men never miss a beat. I smiled at their antics and talent.
The excellent direction by David New is streamline and fresh. Every scene is perfectly placed. The pace is excellent.
With the excellent design team of Kevin Depinet (scenic design), Rita Pietaszek (lighting design), Rob Miburn/Michael Bodeen (Sound Design), and Tracy Dorman (Costume Design) complete this fully realized production.
Whether you have seen “The 39 Steps” in film, play or movie before; don’t miss this truly entertaining production. It runs at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook Terrace through 26 August 2012. For tickets call 630-530-0111 or visit www.drurylaneoakbrook.com