The clowns carried the show during Swift Creek Mill’s latest production of “The 39-Steps.” Adapted by Patrick Barlow from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film of Alfred Hitchcock, the four cast members give a superb performance for a small theater with a small budget. The play opened January 26. The play was Broadway’s longest-running comedy. “It is a mix of a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel,” stated Jennifer Procise, marketing for Swift Creek Mill Theatre. “Add a dash of Monty Python, and you get this fast-paced whodunit – a valentine to the creativity, imagination and magic of the theatre.”
Dan Stackhouse plays the hero as Richard Hannay. Much credit has to be given to Frank Creasy and Steve King who play the clowns as heroes, villains, men, women and even an occasional inanimate object who bring on the laughs. K Strong’s portrayal of the Annabella Schmidt as well as Pamela and Margaret were first rate. Tom Width was at his best with providing the set and scenic design that was aided by the original music and sound design by Paul Deiss, costumes by Maura Lynch Cravey and lighting by Joe Doran.
Moving the spotlight closer in the first scene avoiding direct shine into a section in the audience and the lighting would be perfect.
The play takes place in England and Scotland, 1935. This production uses live gunshots, a stobe light and water-based fog effects.
Catch this performance and you will fall in love with community theaters. You don’t have much time, The 39-Steps runs through March 2. Curtain time is 8 p.m. but if you go, take time for the buffet and enjoy the exhibit by the Chester Artists Association.
Swift Creek Mill is located at 17401 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Box office – 748-5203 for reservations or visit www.swiftcreekmill.com for online ticketing.