Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre cast members Gabriel Macdonald (left), Rod Peter Jr., Chris Mackie and Amanda Lisman in are The 39 Steps, a farcical romp, writes Monday reviewer Sheila Martindale. It runs now through Nov. 3 at the Roxy Theatre. Photo by Theodore Sherman

REVIEW: Blue Bridge turns mystery classic on its head

If you enjoy farce, don’t miss The 39 Steps at the Roxy Theatre

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine reviewer

My first clue about The 39 Steps was on the front of the program – Classic Farce; the second in the list of characters – Clown One and Clown Two. Really?

I had studied the novel by John Buchan way back; and at some later point had seen the Hitchcock film – neither of which had any connection with farce or clowns. As the play progressed I realized that it was all a joke, and a hilarious one, according to the roars of laughter in the auditorium of the Roxy Theatre. I kept wondering why my voice was not raised in similar mirth. Had I wandered into some unfamiliar territory where they spoke a language I did not understand?

However, in true classic style, the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre presented a perfectly-designed show, with exact timing, and acting which stopped just short of going right over the top. And I’d have to say that everyone involved earned their dollar in terms of the multiple parts they played.

Chris Mackie and Rod Peter Jr. changed clothes, hats and accents at a truly dizzying pace, to say nothing of trundling props here and there across the stage. Gabriel Macdonald’s bemused expression was part of the fun, while Amanda Lisman made the most of her three female fatale roles.

Special kudos to Alex Wlasenko, who designed the sound, despite the fact that it was excessively loud at times. And to the director, Jacob Richmond for his sure hand in guiding the four actors through this tangled labyrinth. Hans Saefkow showed his brilliance once more in the design of the set.

I suppose we have to blame playwright Patrick Barlow for the script, since no one laughed at an Alfred Hitchcock production, and poor John Buchan (a.k.a. Baron Tweedsmuir, the Governor General of Canada from 1935 to 1940) is probably turning agonized somersaults in his grave.

The 39 Steps runs until Nov. 3 (providing the actors retain their energy and sanity.) For tickets go to bluebridgetheatre.ca or call 250-382-3370.

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