Pick of the Day: The 39 Steps

39 steps

Barring the Monsterpiece Theater segment “The 39 Stairs” (starring Cookie Monster and Grover in an educational film noir), Patrick Barlow’s Tony-winning melodrama is the wackiest incarnation of John Buchan’s 1915 espionage novel The 39 Steps. Using Alfred Hitchcock’s film as a template, Barlow’s play follows Buchan’s recurring protagonist Richard Hannay on an epic journey sparked by Annabella Schmidt, a spy who’s uncovered a plot to steal British military secrets. Employing four actors who manically change wigs, accents, and costumes to portray 150 characters — secret agents and traveling lingerie salesmen among them — Barlow’s farce flies by at a frantic pace but still finds time to reference Hitch’s oeuvre via crop dusters, birds, and a hotel sign that reads, “Dial M for meal service.” $14-$20; 7:30pm Thu, Oct 18; Sheldon Vexler Theatre, 12500 NW Military Hwy, (210) 302-6835, vexler.org. Check out our full online calendar of upcoming events here: calendar.sacurrent.com.

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