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Orlando Fringe review: 'The 39 Steps' - Orlando Sentinel

Tue, 12/10/2013 - 05:12 -- rprice

First off, this isn’t the “39 Steps” you’re thinking of – not quite. Yes, Invisible Frisbee Productions’ inventive comedy riffs on the Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Yes, it’s still four actors playing the roles of the hapless everyman Richard Hannay and the multiple spies he becomes entangled with. But this time, Hannay may be escaping peril in Will’s Pub instead of London. The settings, professions and event the actors’ roles depend on the cues the audience gives to the cast, by way of a “survey” taken before the show. There’s also a bit of whiz-bang technology involved: You can text your vote for one crucial setting, and watch the votes being tallied in real time on a screen. (If your phone works, anyway – mine didn’t have service in the well-insulated Pink venue.) Does all this improv spice add up to a better “39 Steps”? Potentially. There were more chuckles than belly-laughs in the show I saw, though I’m a particular fan of the deadpan highlights that SAK Comedy Lab regulars Megan Borkes and Max Hilend showed. If the cast can actually use the new twists to add some humor, then this is one improv show well worth taking a chance on for the concept alone.