Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 39 Steps

I've been remiss in mentioning here that, on Sunday afternoon, we caught the matinee performance of the Broadway play "The 39 Steps" at the Cort Theater.

The winner of two '08 Tony Awards (one for sound design, one for lighting design), the play is a take on the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.

The play was pleasant and humorous -- an enjoyable way to spend a few hours on a fall afternoon.

When the play premiered in January, the headline of Ben Brantley's positive review in The New York Times was "Spies, Blonde and a Guy Go North by Northwest." Two notable lines from the review:

But the appeal here is ultimately more to theater aficionados than to movie buffs, and you don’t need to have seen the movie to appreciate the accomplishment of the show. Ms. Aitken and company are using their cinematic template to celebrate the art of instant illusion making that is theater. Much of the show’s pleasure comes from being in on the magician’s tricks even as, on some primitive level, you accept them. ...

For in addition to providing the relief of being committedly silly in a season of fine dramas about unhappy families, “The 39 Steps” stands out for its plying of minimal resources to maximal effect.

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