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Paul Riopelle, Jeff Horst and Ben Gorman in “The 39 Steps” by CATCO

For their season closer CATCO is in the midst of running fan favorite “The 39 Steps,” a stage spoof of the famous Alfred Hitchcock film by Patrick Barlow.

A 2008 Tony Award winner, the production is one of the longest running plays on Broadway and has been known to be a universal crowd-pleaser.

The story follows Richard Hanney (Ben Gorman) an ordinary fellow who only wishes for a night of “mindless pleasure” at the theater, but finds himself on the lam after being framed of murder. Hijinks and hilarity ensue.

Four actors (Gorman, Ginna Hoben, Paul Riopelle, Jeff Horst) play all 150 of the show’s characters, making the quick-change it’s own art form. Parts of the script oftne force the actors the change characters throughout the same scene.

CATCO’s production is pretty solid. Gorman skews slightly older than most “Hanneys” I’ve seen, but does well wearing the character’s absent-minded charm. Hoben (last seen in the AMAZING production of “Next Fall“) is a delight as ALL the female roles, especially as the thick-accented Annabella Schmidt. Riopelle and Horst are also a riot as Clown #1 and Clown #2 taking on the bulk of the show’s characters.

CATCO’s typically phenomenal set designs didn’t disappoint this time either. Designers Brad Steinmetz and Jacque Nelson add 1930s period Britain nuance and the stage hands often become part of the production changing sets intricately about the players as the show in play. Director Steven C. Anderson does well to keep the action moving at a swift pace, while still keeping impeccable comedic timing.

Definitely add “The 39 Steps” to your early summer lineup, you won’t be disapointed.

CATCO presents “The 39 Steps” through June 3 in Studio One of the Vern Riffe Center, 77 S. High Street. Tickets are $11 to $40. For more information visit www.catco.org.

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