The 39 Steps | PrivateBank Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The 39 Steps Closing (Theater and Galleries) New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 30 2010

This show started out at a little, 235-seat London theater, well away from the West End, and I bet it was hilarious there. A complete goof--reproducing Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 espionage movie pretty much scene by scene, with just four actors, lots of quick changes, intentionally clunky tech, and a thick layer of camp--it must've radiated enormous comic energy in those close quarters. Onstage at the 2,016-seat Bank of America Theatre, not so much. While this touring version is competently performed, it stays far enough away from the audience that you can sit back and ask yourself stupid, fun-killing questions like, Why four actors? Why not two, like in The Mystery of Irma Vep? And what's the point of this exercise, anyway? With all that running through your mind, the best you can hope for is mild amusement. --Tony Adler

Price: $20-$72

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