‘The 39 Steps’ – a Classic Vaudeville Slap-Stick Style Comedy from Prime Stage 


This murder mystery, combined with a clean-cut and well-executed physical comedy, delighted and entertained many at the New Hazlett Theater. 

The vibrant and classic characters in The 39 Steps mix well with not-so-subtle hints to Alfred Hitchcock, leaving many people in attendance to double over in laughter. The play consists of many colorful characters played by the same four cast members, Trevor BudaRachel PfennigwerthRyan Warsing, and Kendall Mason, leading to vibrant and on-the-nose jokes that the everyday theater lover will adore. Our narrator, Richard, is stuck in an average and boring life. However, a night out at the theater quickly changes this as he befriends a young woman claiming to be a spy. 

(L-R) Trevor Buda, Rachel Pfennigwerth, Ryan Warsing, and (bottom) Kendall Mason Photo by Laura Slovesko

Buda and Mason played “The Clowns,” an all-fitting word to describe the plethora of characters they inhabited. This classic Guildenstern and Rosencrantz duo truly wowed their audience. Their stage presence and combined movements made it appear like they shared a brain cell. From lines said in perfect synchronization to physical comedy that was impressively clean, these two actors shined. Their physical and movement work should be commended as it was one of the most brilliant parts of this performance. 

Director Scott Calhoon’s staging of this performance was brilliant. The modern setup allowed for many pieces to be used to bring the audience from scene to scene. In particular, the lighting of this show was well-balanced and brought ambiance and emotion to each new character and would even be used to propel the plot forward via fun and extravagant puppetry. From ladders to symbolize trains to boxes to set different scenes, the staging kept you enthralled. 

This hit-to-hit, cue-to-cue performance was flawless. Prime Stage Theatre brought together some of its most outstanding talents for this performance. This London set production was witty, fast-paced, and just plain fun. It takes skill to bring life to over 150 characters with just a four-person cast. Each actor was energetic and excited, which is commendable in this high-energy production. 

This production will surely delight if you are a fan of the original film or Alfred Hitchcock in general! 

Prime Stage’s production of The 39 Steps at the New Hazlett Theater. had its final performance on Sunday, May 14th. For more about Prime Stage, visit: https://primestage.com

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