Doesn’t miss a step
Hilarious comedy closing season with a bang
The 39 Steps is a Theatre Lac Brome production of an Oliver and Tony Award-winning comedy. First produced in 1996 by the North Country Theatre, Lac Brome’s production was adapted by Patrick Barlow from an original script by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon. The version gracing HVT’s stage, directed by Nicholas Pynes, is based almost entirely on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 British thriller of the same name.
The play was intentionally written for four actors, three of whom impressively assume multiple character roles, switching nationalities, personalities and even genders in the blink of an eye.
Theatre lovers and those who delight in watching professionals deliver bullet-proof physical and verbal performance gold should waste no time in buying a ticket to the show that will run until Aug. 24.
A man on the run
Hudson Village Theatre, HVT, is closing its summer season with a hilarious physical comedy spy thriller starring four truly impressive actors.
The spy thriller opens in a theatre where the hero, Richard Hanny, (Martin Sims) finds himself seated next to a mysterious yet attractive woman. Knowing she’s in danger, Annabella Schmidt, (Mary Harvey in one of three roles) enlists the clueless Hanny’s help to dodge a couple of spies who want her dead.
Taking the mystery woman to his apartment where he offers her his bed while he takes a chair in the living room, Hanny wakes to find himself in hot water when Schmidt turns up dead and he’s suddenly on the run from a wrongful murder charge.
With his picture plastered everywhere, Hanny sets out to prove his innocence while attempting to solve the mystery Schmidt spoke of before she was offed. The cross-continent escape soon has him boarding a train for Scotland and what ensues is one of the plays funniest and most physically impressive scenes, among many.
Lightning-fast verbal and physical comedy dynamite is mixed in by the play’s final two characters, billed simply as Clown 1 (Mike Hughes) and Clown 2 (David Chiazzese).
I would add more about the scene’s dialogue but half of it was drowned out by some ear-splitting belly laughs emitting from the woman sitting next to me. It was that funny. Sims is solid in his likable and sympathy-inducing portrayal of Hanny, where he hits all the right notes and delivers a spot-on performance, while Harvey’s impressive performances as Schmidt, Margaret and Pamela are at turns sultry, mysterious, beguiling, charming, sweet and always funny.
Hughes as Clown 1 is verbally adept, quick on his feet and pitch perfect, and it is his chemistry with the unforgettable Chiazzese, who steals the show in every scene with each character that he seamlessly segues into that elevates the play from really good to great.
In an ironic twist of fate, I was often reminded of the recently departed Robin Williams and in one scene, of Williams’s turn as Mrs. Doubtfire, while watching the delightful Chiazzese. All in all the four actors deliver performances that make The 39 Steps a true gem in the realm of professional English theatre.
The 39 Steps will run until Aug. 24. For tickets and showtime information call the box office at 450 458-5361. The Hudson Village Theatre is situated at 28 Wharf Rd.
Mike Hughes (bottom row) and Davide Chiazzese deliver comic gold in Hudson Village Theatre’s final show of the summer season, The 39 Steps.