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‘The 39 Steps’: tale of espionage, murder, romance and mystery at Theatre Horizon in Norristown

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By CAITLIN BURNS  
For 21st Century Media

Trapese the 20th century settings of the Scottish country-side and London as the Theatre Horizon takes audiences on a  journey of espionage, murder, romance and mystery in the whodunit by Patrick Barlow’s “The 39 Steps,” based on the novel by John Buchan and the movie by Alfred Hitchcock.
“I think [this show] is a blast,” actor Steve Pacek said. He plays one of the characters titled clown. “It’s an action packed, thrilling show with absurd situations. It’s a good escape from reality for two hours.”


Through June 8, audiences will  experience the comedic story of Richard Hannay as he tries to clear his name when a spy is murder in his apartment, and keep the 39 steps from falling into the wrong hands during war time. Along the way, he meets eccentric characters and must decide who to trust when life and death is on the line. But what are the 39 steps?
The “wild ride,” as Pacek calls it, uses only a cast of four to weave the gripping tale, utilizing traditional stage techniques like the quick change to bring characters to life, and add some laughs as well. Quick changes come at lightning speed, with the occasional mockery to keep the show comedic.
“I think this show is unique because it relies heavily on acting,” Pacek said. With a minimal set, with the two clowns sometimes standing in as inanimate objects, he said, the actors really have to detail the scene so the audience finds it believable. “It celebrates acting.”
While the show is loosely based in the noir genre, which will thrill even the most seasoned detective novel reader, the show has a light side, using its minimal scenery and four cast members to create an unforgettable show.
“If you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock; or a fan of thrilling, on the edge-of-your-seat shows; or a fan of action shows; or a fan of detectives stories, you’re going to like this show,” Pacek said. “It’s almost James Bond-esque… and it goes all over the place.”

IF YOU GO
WHAT; “The 39 Steps”
WHERE: Theatre Horizon, 401 DeKalb Street, Norristown.
WHEN: Through June 8.
TICKETS: $31 to 35 (adults), $29 to 33 (seniors), and
$25 (students with ID).
INFO.: Check www.theatrehorizon.org.

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