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Sunday, September 1, 2013


Cast of "The 39 Steps" at the Lamb's Players Theatre thru September 22.
COMMUNITY SERVICE GUEST BLOG by Marianne Regan (courtesy of San Diego Metro magazine)-- Coming on the heels of a wildly successful summer run of "Fiddler On the Roof," Lamb's Players presents the fourth offering in their 2013 season, "The 39 Steps." Thinly-modeled after Hitchcock's 1935 movie of the same name, this adaption by Patrick Barlow plays fast and loose with all kinds of film noir settings, plots and atmosphere.  Directed by Deborah Gilmour Smyth.

Four actors play a multitude of characters among them and with just a few costume pieces, props, accents and/or hats or hair extensions, you are instantly introduced to dozens of denizens of the Scottish highlands, as our hero, young, bored, dashing Richard Hanney, tries to get to the bottom -- or top -- of the 39 Steps.

Suave and debonair, David S. Humphrey's Hanney, a Private I in search of a crime, is the only continuous thread throughout the play. He meets with savory and unsavory characters on his journey to find the murderer of young vixen Annabella, a Russian spy (the versatile Kelsey Venter). 

His journey takes him all over the Lamb's stage, using ladders as set pieces or pools of light to signify certain cities. Much like "Noises off!" doors open and close and open again, and sometimes move on their own. The actors exit and enter so fast, sometimes as different characters, that you have to be sharp to keep up with all the comings and goings. 

The accents alone are hysterical and I do love a good brogue as
provided by resourceful Robert Smyth (Clown #2).  Exceptionally talented Jesse Abeel, as Clown #1, plays several female characters along the lines of Monty Python's Terry Jones. Indeed, the entire farcical nature of the play resembles a long Monty Python skit and so there is no need to ferret out the motives. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Every single Hitchcock movie is referred to and it is fun to spot the clues.  (It would have been even more fun to have a "clue" check-off list in the program to further involve the viewer.)

The opening night crowd thoroughly enjoyed the production and the actors can only get better - and faster - throughout the run.  Not as family-friendly as "Fiddler," but if you love absurd theater, are a Monty Python fan, or just want to go to out and have a silly evening, this is the show for you.

"The 39 Steps" runs through Sept. 22.   Ticket info:

Marianne Regan
About the Author-- Marianne Regan is a member of Actor's Equity and SAG-AFTRA since 1981. She began a career in theater in 1976 at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., and moved to San Diego in 1985. She has performed at the North Coast Repertory Theater, the Mission Playhouse and has taught and directed at the San Diego Junior Theater.

Photos by Ken Jacques

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