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39 Steps

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Delightful
81
Critics
67
16 reviews
Members
82
263 reviews
 

The Tony Award-winning comedic spoof of the classic 1935 film, in which four actors portray more than 150 characters in a fast paced 100 minutes.

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The madcap story follows dashing hero Richard Hannay as he races to solve the mystery of 'The 39 Steps,' all the while trying to clear his name. The four actors change roles in the blink of an eye. This production, performed at the intimate Union Square Theatre, is a transfer of the Tony Award winning Broadway production.

 

Cast & Creatives (8)


Reviews (279)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
67
Avg Score

80
The New York Times

"It remains indomitably funny...This bare-bones production is as disciplined and as precise in its footwork as a 'Firebird' from the Bolshoi Ballet. '39 Steps' remains a gallant and giggly ode to make-do resourcefulness...The cast members are as crude and as refined as they need to be." Full Review

60
BroadwayWorld

"The cast is aces and the production is still full of funny delights, but while certainly an enjoyable diversion, '39 Steps' never builds to any real comic climax and, though never dull, generally remains on the same lightly amusing level. As foreshadowed in its opening scene, 'Something mindless and trivial. Something utterly pointless.'" Full Review

35
Theatermania

"One of the funniest plays Broadway had seen in years is now majorly head-scratching in just how unfunny this mounting is...It seems that the show was rushed to the stage without enough rehearsal...the pacing is so far off, the chemistry nonexistent, and the campiness too big for a house of this size." Full Review

90
Time Out New York

"It’s a supporting actor—Arnie Burton, reprising his 2008 Broadway role—who really carries this welcome revival...It’s the silly stage business that milks the laughs. Shedding and switching secondary roles faster than they can doff or trade their cloaks and caps, Burton and sidekick Billy Carter really put their backs into it." Full Review

35
Talkin' Broadway

"This is in every other way 'The 39 Steps' as it's been for the last seven years — clever (sometimes to a fault), theatrical, not especially Hitchcock — just more in need of a fresh set of batteries and perhaps a good kick in the rump. If this isn't ever going to be everyone's cup of tea, it would still benefit from going heavier on the caffeine and a little (or a lot) lighter on the milk and sugar." Full Review

90
The Associated Press

"A new production opened Monday with good cheer and manic energy...Director Maria Aitken makes miracles with the minimal scenery and few props, propelling her actors with astonishing fluidity...It’s good to have the looney clowns back." Full Review

80
Entertainment Weekly

"Author Patrick Barlow and director Maria Aitken have created a unique piece of screwball comedy to call their own...This loving sendup is part madcap romance, part mistaken-identity thriller, and pure absurdity...At times, it feels a bit like a backyard production from the neighborhood kids, but Hitchcock himself couldn’t have helped cracking a smile at the self-referential hijinks." Full Review

90
The New York Times

for a previous production "This fast, frothy exercise in legerdemain is throwaway theater at its finest. And that’s no backhanded compliment...The actors themselves seem to be having a helluva good time. As does the audience. 'The 39 Steps' stands out for its plying of minimal resources to maximal effect...This show flies lightly into an ether of escapism." Full Review

85
The New York Times

for a previous production "The George Street production of 'The 39 Steps' is not quite as intoxicating or as maniacally inspired as the Broadway production but it is a great piece of theatrical fun with a cast you might easily want to take home...Their quick-change artistry is a running joke that never gets old." Full Review

25
Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "I can’t think of a single thing about 'The 39 Steps' that will whip any seasoned theatregoer into a frenzy of hysterics...Lacking a ripe comedic target, they’re unable to sell 'The 39 Steps' as anything other than an elaborate time-waster that has nothing on its mind, even within the limited realm of frivolous entertainment in which it so shamelessly operates. No, not every play must say something. But must one with so much potential for originality say nothing with such dizzyingly familiar ... Full Review

80
The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "We laugh at theatre's inability to create realistic impressions of a steam train, a Highland landscape and the Forth bridge; and we laugh, too, at the playfulness of a production that persists in the attempt regardless...It's a witty, high-energy show". Full Review

100
Chronicle Herald (Canada)

for a previous production "'The 39 Steps' is fun, fast and funny...'The 39 Steps' is a guaranteed all-ages good time running...The show clocks in at two hours with an intermission that sadly spits us out from a crazy, joyful, energized world for a spell before we can return." Full Review

85
London Theatre1

for a previous production "The bowels of The Criterion Theatre was resplendent with laughs of all types. It is, from beginning to end, very funny...The acting is superb and the timing impeccable...If you fancy a spiffing, unpretentious evening out suitable for all of the family, look no further than 'The 39 Steps.'" Full Review

90
British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "The result is a brilliant, fast-moving spoof in which the entire company, remarkably only four actors, entertain us all hugely with great skill and real wit...'The Thirty-Nine Steps' now thrives on the deepest stage in London, an appropriate setting for mystery and intrigue." Full Review

80
Time Out London

for a previous production "The point's to spin the straw of theatrical mediocrity into gold standard comedy, and to watch clowns Rupert Degas and Simon Gregor playing four people at once in a flying frenzy of wigs and accents is one of many highlights. If Buchan had ever done anything as girlie as giggle, surely he would have done it here." Full Review

95
London Theatreland (UK)

for a previous production "'The 39 Steps' somehow manages to combine spies, shadow puppets, death-defying feats of escape and not so staggering special effects. For some reason it really works. The production is silly in the very best sense of the word and if Monty Python style humour tickles your funny bone you are in for a treat! This fast paced spoof spy thriller makes for a jolly good evening!" Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
82
Avg Score

70
Funny, Clever, Fluffy, Well staged, Fast paced

See it if you want easy-breezy entertainment. Nothing new (if you've seen the movie), but cleverly staged w/good actors. Fun and fast-paced.

Don't see it if you want meaningful theater. 39S is just for the sheer imaginative recreation (w 4 actors) of a full, action-packed movie.

Also I saw 39 Steps twice, once in London, once in NYC. I preferred the Lon... Read more Read less

90
Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if U like Hitchcock films and great acting.

Don't see it if You don't like a manic paced piece where actors play dozens of parts

78
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you would like to see a play that is performed by 4 actors which portray over 150 characters.

Don't see it if you don't like plays where the actors take on more than one role.

96
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want to see Hitchcock spoofed brilliantly. You love a good farce with great acting.

Don't see it if You do not like silly comedy. You only like drama.

67
Confusing

See it if you like small casts playing a lot of characters & you can follow all the changes of character.

Don't see it if you like elaborate sets or if you don't remember the movie (the plot is a bit twisty).

71
Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Overrated, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of the classic 1935 film.

Don't see it if you don't think that you will appreciate seeing more than 150 characters in 100 minutes.

78
Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if Good mystery

Don't see it if No reason not to see it

80
Funny, Original, Clever, Exquisite, Great staging

See it if you enjoy contemporary and comedic re-telling of a Hitchcock film; set to an incredible rhythm of 4 actors playing 100 roles. Unforgettable!

Don't see it if you don't enjoy smart and imaginative staging of classic stories

84
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you like shows that seem to magically make sets (and casts) out of next to nothing. A fun romp of a story.

Don't see it if you're looking for anything too serious. Think extended Carol Burnet sketch.

94
Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You like clever acting and funny spoofs. I saw this twice. Actors are talented and the show is just so quick paced. Their timing and energy!

Don't see it if You have never seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Many funny references to his movies. Its fun to watch for them.

91
Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Intelligent, Hilarious

See it if You love Hitchcock films, can laugh at them. You can appreciate 4 actors playing a thousand parts, quick change artistry, you want to loud.

Don't see it if You do not love smart, silly humor,

82
Funny, Original, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy watching frantic actors in a myriad of hilarious roles.

Don't see it if You're looking for something serious.

97
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if You like funny, silly, unusual shows where the actors play multiple roles.

Don't see it if You want a straightforward play that is typically ordinary.

81
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Quirky

See it if like fun who-done-it's performed by four actors each of whom play multiple parts.

Don't see it if you think mysteries shouldn't be performed in a humorous vein with multiple characters each without his or her own actor

70
Funny, Great acting, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if love a good Hitchcock spoof and free clown noises. Go if it ever comes back!

Don't see it if you are looking for something serious, or are anti-Hitchcock.

87
Ambitious, Clever, Exquisite, Great acting, Masterful

See it if You're a Hitchcock, physical comedy fan, or just want to laugh. I've seen it on 2 continents. Masterful 4 actors are technically brilliant.

Don't see it if I guess if you really take Hitchcock too seriously or are expecting something else. I fell out of my chair laughing. I'm a tough audience.

63
Funny, Clever, Great staging, Silly

See it if Clever staging and theatre tricks (silhouettes, physical comedy, props, vaudeville gags). Silly, good-natured fun.

Don't see it if you're expecting a compelling story or a great mystery. Loses steam and comes to an unsatisfying conclusion. Requires the right actors.

82
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Quirky, Entertaining

See it if You'd enjoy a "who dunit" farce-- a case of mistaken identity. I am generally not too crazy about comedies, but this one held my interest.

Don't see it if Do not enjoy all but one of the actors playing multiple roles. Don't see if you are tired.

59
Boring, Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated, Great staging

See it if It was technically very good but I did not find the play compelling. Ultimately I found it cold and it didn't keep my interest.

Don't see it if It was popular but I don't think it was for everyone. Very stylized. Four actors play over 100 roles. Impressive but dizzying too.

70
Clever, Banal, Disappointing, Insipid, Fluffy

See it if You like Hitchcock with a side of farce.

Don't see it if You think this is going to be finely-crafted fun.

70
Funny, Original, Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you are a fan of Hitchcock and clever humor.

Don't see it if you want a more serious or larger cast show

66
Clever, Confusing, Overrated

See it if you like whodunit mysteries

Don't see it if you want a more engaging production

89
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Fluffy

See it if You like to see how they make Hitchcock funny (and they do.)

Don't see it if You are just expecting a dramatic movie version

94
Clever, Quirky, Hilarious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You enjoy clever wordplay. You're a fan of Hitchcock movies. You enjoy shows w/pop references.You like slapstick. You enjoy fun staging.

Don't see it if You're not familiar with Hitchcock movies. You don't like slapstick or clowning. You want more traditional dialogue & staging.

77
Funny, Entertaining, Fun, Nostalgic, Fluffy

See it if you want to watch 1920s style movie camp translated into theater camp; you enjoy classy physical comedy

Don't see it if you want to relate to the characters.