Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Run Rabbit Run Theatre The 39 Steps

By • May 25th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
The 39 Steps
Run Rabbit Run Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Franklin Park Arts Center, Purcellville, VA
Through June 2nd
2:15 with intermission
$21/$18 Seniors/$15 Students (In Advance)
$24/$21 Seniors/$18 Students (At the Door)
Reviewed May 24th, 2013

Although there were a few bumps on the performance road, Run Rabbit Run Theatre’s production of The 39 Steps showed some creative effects that proved to be quite humorous. The play, which takes a funny look at the stories and movies of Alfred Hitchcock, opens with Richard Hannay (Phil Erikson) setting the stage for the show about to take place. His heavy British accent took some getting used to, but after a while it just became a part of his character. The action takes place before World War II, and involves some convoluted situations involving spies, murder, national security and romance. Four actors play over 100 roles, not counting the stage hands who played very minor roles in the closing scene.

Penny Hauffe played three of the female characters. She was able to make two out of the three characters distinctive by going from blond to brunette and changing her mannerisms from sultry to more annoyed, especially due to the fact that in the second act she spent a great bit of time handcuffed to Hannay. The two “clowns” were played by Kevin Daly and Tom Johnson. They had some of the funniest bits, including an airplane chase sequence and a frustrating flock of sheep. The audience did not always know how to react so at times the bits by the clowns was somewhat sluggish and carried on a little too long. However, most of the physical comedy was fun to watch.

The lighting was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening. One scene involved the owner of an inn and his “wife” having a conversation with a third-party. With the way that Director Meredith Bean McMath blocked the scene, they were both in a shadow and thus were both hard to see and hear as well, making the action happening onstage very difficult to follow. Several other scenes were oddly lit, or maybe just underlit. The costumes were colorful and period appropriate. The stage crew was extremely efficient with the many set changes and tweaks, with a few very funny bits, such as the town names visible from the train.

Although there were a few lighting and pacing problems, The 39 Steps was enjoyed by a good-sized audience with a cast that was comfortable and enjoyed creating an evening of laughter and merriment.

Photo Gallery

Hannay and Margaret (Phil Erickson and Penny Hauffe) 'Anything suspicious, let us know, sir.' 'I will, Constable!' (Tom Johnson at left with Kevin Daly).
Hannay and Margaret (Phil Erickson and Penny Hauffe)
‘Anything suspicious, let us know, sir.’ ‘I will, Constable!’ (Tom Johnson at left with Kevin Daly).
'Pulling the communication cord!' Pamela (Penny Hauffe) and the Constable (Kevin Daly) The Housekeeper (Kevin Daly) finds something nasty in the wingchair.
‘Pulling the communication cord!’ Pamela (Penny Hauffe) and the Constable (Kevin Daly)
The Housekeeper (Kevin Daly) finds something nasty in the wingchair.

Photos by Dave Levinson


  • Richard Hannay: Phil Erikson
  • Annabella, Pamela, Margaret: Penny Hauffe
  • Clown 1: Kevin Daly
  • Clown 2: Tom Johnson


  • Director/Producer: Meredith Bean McMath
  • Technical Director/Lighting and Sound Designer: Garrett Milich
  • Stage Manager: Annie Stokes
  • Properties Master: Kaitlyn DeLitta
  • Set Manager: Alex Tappan
  • Crew: Kaitlyn DeLitta, Wes Gums, Alex Tappan
  • House Manager: Cindy Hayden

Disclaimer: Run Rabbit Run Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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