Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maltz Jupiter Theatre: The 39 Steps (2 reviews)

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre opened its production of The 39 Steps on November 1, 2011.
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel and you have Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, Broadway’s most intriguing, most thrilling, most riotous comedy smash! The mind-blowing cast plays over 150 characters in this fast-paced tale of an ordinary man on an extraordinarily entertaining adventure. Using ingenious theatrical invention, this production is an engaging, fast-paced whodunit that celebrates the magic of theater.
Peter Amster directed a cast that featured Christian Pedersen, Beth Hylton, Andrew Sellon, and Joe Foust.

Hap Erstein reviewed for Palm Beach ArtsPaper:
The Maltz enlisted the aid of director Peter Amster, whose productions of the show have already played at three venues in the Northeast and Midwest. Still, this is treacherously thin material and sustaining the mirth for two hours -- including a comic inertia-killing intermission -- can prove very difficult.

That is the case at the Maltz, where the hilarity level seems about a quart low, despite four agile, energetic performers. Particularly adept at the requisite clowning are Andrew Sellon and Joe Foust, who handle most of the eye-blink character changes, most notably in a clever shtick where they keep transforming themselves with just the swap of head gear.
The plot is intentionally complex and some of the problem seems to be that director Amster is trying for narrative clarity at the expense of sheer speed. While that is usually a smart trade-off, it is a laugh-killer here.
John Lariviere reviewed for Talkin' Broadway:
Leading man Christian Pedersen is enjoyable as Richard Hannay, and does a good job with pacing. Beth Hylton as the assorted women in his life needs to more consistently make some of her character choices bigger and more colorful. She is at her best in those moments when she is larger than life. The comedy that carries this show belongs to Joe Foust as Clown 2 and Andrew Sellon as Clown 1. Watching them is like watching exercises right out of the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?." Scenes like the train ride scene, where they play multiple characters, show real comedic concentration, and personify the sheer fun and understated genius of this production.
Lovers of film noir and Hitchcock will get a kick out of The 39 Steps. This production is entertaining as both a comedic theatre piece and an actor's exercise.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre production of The 39 Steps plays through November 13, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment