By Kylie Masznicz
“The 39 Steps,” playing at Restless Artists’ Theatre Company, is a hilariously entertaining spy play set in the United Kingdom. It follows the life of Richard Hannay as he goes from the average man to being involved with someone’s murder and trying clear his name.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this production is the actors’ abilities to transform into different characters. Their website claims there are over 150 characters with only 4 actors portraying them all.
I lost count of the characters myself, and there was a huge handful. Actors would swap out their hats or switch to a different accent to show off their new persona.
I was skeptical about the multiple characters but found it to be a seamless transition and one of the most comedic aspects of the play. Watching the actors quickly change characters on set and hurriedly interacting with one another is something I’ve never experienced in a production before.
The actors are all well versed in a multitude of accents, as well. I was told that they spent time studying films teaching how to speak with different dialects, and the hard work and dedication paid off.
Sometimes a cheesy British accent can be comedic, but having realistic accents helps with the travel scenes from England to Scotland and back.
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By the end of the play, I couldn’t tell you what an actor’s true voice was since so many were used! This was something truly appreciated as it increased my immersion of the story.
Sometimes a cheesy British accent can be comedic, but having realistic accents helps with the travel scenes from England to Scotland and back. This production has a lot of special effects, such as lighting, a fog machine, and a soundboard.
The actors are well rehearsed in these effects and move quickly to set up the next scene with them. There were times where it seemed like a sound played at the wrong time, but the actors were quick to respond and integrate it into the performance.
Whether this was intentional or not, the actors were the backbone of this production and I would recommend going simply to watch their spectacular talent.