When Lisa Bodden watched the Arizona Theatre Company’s production of “The 39 Steps” last year, the St. Gregory College Preparatory School drama director was sure the comedic murder mystery would be a hit at the school.
Her students agree, and they’re sure everyone who sees them perform will, too.
“The thing I like most about ‘The 39 Steps’ is the absolutely hilarious way the actors interact with each other,” said St. Gregory senior Ben Klinkenberg, who plays a corrupt lawman, known as a “heavy.”
“The audience will enjoy being taken on a journey throughout the play.”
St. Gregory will present the production at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The performance will feature 20 actors, 12 stage crew members and one musician.
English playwright Patrick Barlow adapted the work from the 1915 novel of the same name by John Buchan. Alfred Hitchcock’s version hit the silver screen in 1935.
The Tony Award-winning comedy tells the story of Richard Hannay, a Scot who is bored with life in London and decides to go to the theater — a simple act that forever changes his life.
After a murder in his flat, he searches for the meaning of the “39 Steps.” As he eludes police, heavies and jealous husbands by foot, road, water and air, he discovers the importance of human qualities such as loyalty, sacrifice and love.
“The beauty of performing a comedic murder mystery is that there are few constraints,” Bodden said. “Characters do not have to follow verisimilitude. Settings can be rough suggestions. What is essential is for the audience to be entertained by whatever means necessary.”
St. Gregory senior Jodi Rickel, who plays German secret agent Annabella Schmidt, said, “This group of actors is definitely funny. I think that the audience will love all of our different accents. We have Scottish, Cockney, German and more.”
Senior Diana Cortéz-Moreno, who plays Pamela — a girl handcuffed to Hannay for half the play — said “the nonstop comedy” will appeal to the audience.
Noam Shahar portrays a policeman and a heavy.
“My favorite aspect of ‘The 39 Steps’ is the well-written comedic script,” he said. “I think the audience will enjoy that the originally serious thriller is taken on in a more playful manner, providing additional humor.”