Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Little Off Topic: Hitchcock's 39 Steps

This is quintessentially a film blog, and this post is somewhat about movies. Last night, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, I had the privilege of seeing a stage performance of classic Hitchcock thriller The 39 Steps.

Adapted as a comedy for the stage by Patrick Barlow, director Maria Aitken ratchets up the entertainment by a few notches. Endlessly self-referential, it is a spoof of its own source material and pokes fun at the best of the Hitchcock canon, including Psycho, The Lady Vanishes, and Rear Window.

There is even the obligatory Hitchcock cameo in a brilliantly conceived shadow play midway through the first act. Also accomplished in shadow is a spot on recreation of the crop duster scene from North by Northwest with a hilarious twist at the end.

But, it is still a spy yarn at heart, and there is a flashlights-in-the-dark sequence that is among the most thrilling I’ve seen live on stage. If you get the chance to see it before it closes next week, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a night out with Hitchcock and the gang.

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