Combine a Hitchcock movie classic with a comic homage to the whodunit genre and you’ve got “The 39 Steps,” to be presented by Theater To Go in collaboration with Pierrot Productions at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre. Dates and show times for this Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning play are Fridays, Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Feb. 1 and 8 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Feb. 2 and 9 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Jan. 31.
In a show that has been described as one part Hitchcock, one part Monty Python, and one part Ringling Brothers Circus, Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of “The 39 Steps” delivers a rapid-fire, hilariously irreverent re-invention of the famed 1935 mystery film. A cast of four actors breathlessly attempts to re-enact all of the characters, locations and famous scenes from the film with just a few props and a lot of theatrical ingenuity. The leading man, Richard Hannay, meets a mysterious woman at a London music hall who asks for his help in uncovering a spy ring, thus entangling him in a web of murder, espionage and intrigue. Along the way he encounters an assortment of characters played by two actors who switch personas at breakneck speed. It all adds up to a thoroughly entertaining evening of mischief and merriment. And those who listen carefully will catch veiled references to some of Hitchcock’s most memorable films.
The multi-talented ensemble cast features Casey Woods of Sayreville as the protagonist, Richard Hannay; Mariel Rosati of Ivyland, Pa., who takes on several roles; and Andrew James Gordon of West Windsor and Jennifer Barron of Hamilton, who play all of the remaining characters.
In addition to the opening night reception on Jan. 31, the cast and creative team will host a “Talk Back” after the show on Friday, Feb. 7 to discuss Alfred Hitchcock, “The 39 Steps” and their current production. On Saturday, Feb. 8, the company will host “The First Annual and Last Ever Alfred Hitchcock Look-Alike Contest” following the show, inviting audience members to appear as their best Alfred Hitchcock selves.
“The 39 Steps” is produced by Pete LaBriola and Ruth Markoe, who also directs the show. The stage manager is Tara Simonelli; lighting and projection design is by Kitty Getlik; props are by Amy Bessellieu; and sound design is by Nick Mastelesz. Costumes are by Ruth Rittmann and set design is by Pete LaBriola.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and children. Tickets are available online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.