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39 Steps

  • Theater, Off Broadway
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

39 Steps: Theater review by Sandy MacDonald

No disrespect to the romantic leads, but it’s a supporting actor—Arnie Burton, reprising his 2008 Broadway role—who really carries this welcome revival. The dialogue is lifted pretty much verbatim from Hitchcock’s 1935 film classic (no foreknowledge required); it’s the silly stage business (patently artificial, intentionally flubbed) that milks the laughs. Shedding and switching secondary roles faster than they can doff or trade their cloaks and caps, Burton and sidekick Billy Carter really put their backs into it. Burton throws in a finely honed ear for dialect and his chiseled yet protean face.

Robert Petkoff’s sangfroid suits the stalwart hero, unflappable even when swept up in an international intrigue. As a Dietrichy femme fatale, Brittany Vicars chews her consonants with gusto. Sidelined by an inconvenient stabbing, she’s soon revived as an English rose incensed to find herself shackled, literally, to a presumed murderer. Vicars also excels as a lonely Scottish farmwife professing fear of—and ill-contained longing for—the “wickedness” of city ways.

Union Square Theatre (see Off Broadway). Adapted by Patrick Barlow. Directed by Maria Aitken. With Arnie Burton, Billy Carter, Robert Petkoff, Brittany Vicars. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission.

Written by
Sandy MacDonald


Event website:
$39–$89, premium $105
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