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Wednesday, August 1,2012

'39 Steps' lead to laughs

Over the Ledge presents a Hitchcockian farce

by Holly Johnson

Combine the suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller with the allure of a 1930s spy story; perform it in the comedic style of Monty Python and you have Over the Ledge Theatre Co.īs “The 39 Steps.” 

Based on Hitchcock’s 1935 film, Patrick Barlow’s adaptation follows the manhunt of Hannay (Jason Woodworth) by a mysterious organization known as the 39 Steps. Hannay befriends a thick-accented female spy, takes her home and then finds her murdered. From then on, a whodunit storyline unfolds, filled to the brim with humor, handcuffs and hot and heavy romance. 

The play calls for four actors, with three of the four playing multiple parts. The three female roles are played by Kathleen Egan, and Clown 1 and Clown 2 (Josh Martin and Jeff Kennedy) play over 100 quick-change characters, including policemen, villains and several wacky individuals that Hanney meets while on the run. 

With such a small cast, director Rick Dethlefsen took the opportunity to add a new dimension to the show. “We went in there with the attitude of ‘let’s invent this together,’” he said. “Each of us pulled out new ideas.”

Dethlefsen said the script’s openness allows him to switch things up and differentiate his production from others. “You know there is a chase scene, but how (the production) handles that chase scene is up to them and the perimeters of the theater,” he said. 

The play is also filled with numerous gag references to Hitchcock thrillers: Just make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the birds — and be wary of vertigo.   

‘The 39 Steps’

Over the Ledge Theatre Company

Aug. 2-12

Over the Ledge Theatre Co.

Ledges Playhouse

137 Fitzgerald Park Dr., Grand Ledge

8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays

$10 adults; $8 seniors; $6 students

(517) 318-0579

overtheledge.org

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