Tickets for “The 39 Steps” at Rochester Civic Theatre should come with seat belts.
“Basically, it’s a chase scene from the start,” said Greg Miller, who is directing and acting in the show.
“The 39 Steps,” based on an Alfred Hitchcock movie, opens Friday at RCT. Four actors — Miller, Jerry Casper, Audrey Rinkoski and Tommy Rinkoski — play all the parts.
Tommy Rinkoski plays Richard Hannay, who is on the run while being sought for a murder he didn’t commit. Audrey Rinkoski plays three women who get involved with Richard. Casper and Miller handle the other 100 or so roles.
Asked who has the toughest job, Miller said, “I think that’s up for grabs. Tommy has the most words, but everybody has their bits as well.”
This is somewhat familiar territory for Miller and Casper. Miller was featured in a one-man “A Christmas Carol” several years ago at RCT, and Casper and Miller have performed “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged,” playing multiple characters.
“The 39 Steps” will be equally crazy. “When you have two people who have to do a crowd of people, they have to don a lot of costumes,” Miller said. “The sequences happen so rapid-fire. You have to be so comfortable that the words just spill out.”
The play was written by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and premiered in 1995 in North Yorkshire, England. Corble and Dimon kept the spy story at the heart of Hitchcock’s movie, but turned it on its head.
“It’s Hitchcock as envisioned by a couple of looney guys,” Miller said. The play comes complete with references to Hitchcock films.
The story, Miller said, “is right up Hitchcock’s alley. There’s an innocent man who’s trying to prove his innocence.” Where Hitchcock would normally highlight the terror in that situation, “The 39 Steps” plays it for laughs. “It’s so a comedy,” Miller said.
For audiences, Miller said, “It’s flat-out fun. You’ve got this story pulling you through. It’s very theatrical, and that’s what I love about it.”
All that’s needed is a seat belt for the wild ride.
If you go
What: “The 39 Steps”
When: Friday through July 31. Performances at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. July 31
Where: Rochester Civic Theatre, 20 Civic Center Drive SE
Tickets: $24 adults, $19 senior citizens, $17 students; 507-282-8481