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Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Saturday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" Entertainment Review

(or, my "Unofficial" review, check back later for a link to the professional one in The Calgary Herald)

Stage West Calgary
"The 39 Steps"

Well played, Stage West Calgary...well played...

For your 30th anniversary, put on one of the best shows I've seen there yet, with a cast of ridiculously talented actors (just 4 of them, playing over a hundred different characters!), and expect me to find something critical to write about it the next morning.

Well, it's not going to happen. Sure, I know that it's your musical reviews that most often receive the flashy standing ovations from your sold-out audiences, but for theatre purists this latest production stands one full mountain peak above any argument that "dinner theatre" doesn't measure up. In fact, try telling that to your actors, John Ulyatt, Andy Curtis, Chris Hunt, and Natascha Girgis, each one a stand-out in the multiple, wildly diverse roles they juggle as this Alfred Hitchcock mystery unfolds (albeit from the zaniest of perspectives).

You almost can't imagine a single theatre technique left on the table, as this production runs briskly from start to finish, even incorporating brilliant bits of Hitchcock & Brit TV homages, shadow theatre, and more accents than one might have encountered at Ellis Island during the turn of the last century. 

Wonderful direction, creative and effective set, costume, sound & lighting design...I could go on and on, but I hope you get the general idea. Plus I need to save my best stuff for the newspaper review..

Incidentally, and not related at all to the show, I have had trouble determining how best to take notes. When I scribble things down in the dark, even a hieroglyphics expert wouldn't be able to decipher my markings in the morning. Lighting the page with my phone didn't work that well, so I bought a tiny book-light - which I am happy to say works extremely well. 

Except for the lady who was sitting behind me, who clucked like a chicken every time I turned the dim little thing on. I almost ran back to the buffet to get her some sunflower seeds.

Didn't spoil MY evening :-)

Well played, Stage West Calgary...well played...

"The 39 Steps" - 5 of 5 stars

Congratulations on 30 outstanding years!!

(Check back soon when the link is available from The Calgary Herald, I'll post it in this space. And I will also be interviewing the director & cast, so what the hell, just save this site in your web browser "Favourites"...)

Chow for now!


Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Ya! An awesome show! Unbelievable how often and quickly they could turn from one character into another! And the doors and window thing, creatively delicious! A funny, innovative, wildly talented and creative show, two huge thumbs up!

ThatDanGuy said...

Thang Q, kind and unbiased stranger!!