BY RUTH DAVID
ARTS & LIFE CORRESPONDENT
“The 39 Steps” is a British thriller/comedy novel by John Buchan that rose to fame when it was adapted to the big screen by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock in 1935.
The Scranton Players’ adaption, directed by Michael O’Steen and adapted by Patrick Barlow, is extremely funny and has a very colorful and talented cast.
The lead character Mr. Hannay, played by John Niemiec, finds himself caught up in an espionage conspiracy against Britain after meeting spy Annabella at a music theatre. He soon finds himself in a whirlwind of danger after she is mysteriously killed at his apartment. He begins his adventure to find out what the 39 steps really are, all the while running from the police for the murder of Annabella.
The play starts off dragging a bit, but once Hannay is on the run, the excitement begins. Niemiec shines as the lead, with his very convincing British accent and great comedic timing – he made the play. Each actor exhibited a large range, since every actor besides Niemiec had the task of playing at least four other characters. The people Hannany finds himself around on his quest to solve the mystery are hysterical. From Mr. Memory to the allusive Professor Jordan, it is a very electric bunch of characters.
The play had a very Austin-Power theme to it; it is not serious by any stretch. However, I did find myself very interested in what exactly the 39 steps were, as Annabella hints that once they leave the country, it would be the very end of Britain as they know it.
‘The 39 Steps’ did a very good job at translating the way a regular person thrown into spy business would feel. Each scene had an urgent yet confusing feel to it, which worked in the play’s favor.
I do not want to go and spoil anything, so I will not say exactly what happens or how this story ends. I will say that if you want a good laugh, go see “The 39 Steps.” Its final showings are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
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