The 39 Steps

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The 39 Steps

Postby Barry » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:02 pm

The Garrick, October 22nd 2011

The fact that this production actually made the stage is amazing, and that is was so great is astonishing. Just two weeks ago they lost the actor playing the somehwat crucial part of Hannay, as well as the director. A new director who had done it stepped in, and an actor familiar with the part also leapt in, though he missed half of the time available. So all a bit of extreme pressure for everyone involved, and somehow it all came together. I did enjoy it, but I would have liked most of the staging gags not to have been based on the established London production. The strength of the evening was the performances - they were joyous, but for me it did not quite hang together, which is a little critical of me. I loved all the bits, but there was not the crucial set-up that let the 'cheap' staging e so funny. In Noises Off, we know why the actors are struggling, but here I fear the director took the concept of london without really understaning what it was or setting it up clearly. I think what might have been appropriate for the garrick would have been to have had Hannay bored and lonely, as he says, and thinking a piece of theatre, again as he says, might cheer him up, start to perform the 39 steps with whatever to hand, including three of the audience. This would have made sense of the ingenuity of the staging and the frustration of the actors at the lack of props and such. As it was it was just a gag with no context. There was a rather expensive and impotent set, when an empty stage and the exposed mechanics of the garrick would have been more effective and certainly more econoical.
And I do feel uncomfortable everytime that garrick curtain is drawn in - here sometimes it worked as a curtain at the Palladium, but it just seemed so unecessary just to change a table. The colour and scale of it is such a statement, such a full stop, such a rhythm breaker. But I did laugh a lot at the sheer silliness of it, and also got a little nervous as my approach to Sherlock Holmes later in the season is going to be a similar rough magic approach, but hopefully I can make it that the audience do nto see it as silly or cheap, but as quick pacy story telling.
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