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Patrick Barlow's 'The 39 Steps' At Shawnee

The Shawnee Theatre wraps up their 2011 season with Patrick Barlow's comedy The 39 Steps. It's based on Alfred Hitchcock's thriller and it's another one of those plays that the Shawnee's artistic director Brandon Bruce says, "I just had to direct."

"I heard about it from friends and read the reviews. After I got to see a couple of regional theatre productions, I kept thinking about what I'd do with it. I wanted to get my hands on it."

The Man In The Middle

Actor Andres Enriquez who played Matt, the young man in the middle of Shawnee's production of The Fantasticks is back in the middle in The 39 Steps. "I play Richard Hannay. He's a sort of British everyman who gets sucked into a mystery that he only gradually begins to understand. Patrick Barlow's The 39 Steps has just four actors, but they play about a hundred and fifty roles. I'm the only one who has just one costume.

It might be confusing, but the actors around me are so good that just who they are is always clear. In one memorable scene each of the actors holds three hats and they rapidly switch those hats around as they change roles."

A Love Letter

Director Bruce notes that although the show is a comedy, it's not a spoof. "Remember that the original itself does contain some humor as the hero bumbles along. It's really part of a sort of love letter to the Hitchcock original. Our production does enjoy the energy and excitement of a farce and frankly, it's very funny."

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