North By Northwest, the stage adaption of the classic 50s Hitchcock film, is a play filled with slick acting and even slicker production values.

Starring David Campbell as Roger O. Thornhill and directed by Simon Phillips, this thrilling ride of mistaken identity plays out in typical Hitchcockian suspense, driven by an atmospheric soundtrack and clever use of projection to give the audience an intimate, birds-eye-view of the action.

Russian Spies And Double Agents

Set against the backdrop of the Cold War with talk of Russian spies and double-double agents, the themes seem vaguely familiar considering the high-stakes challenges the world faces in 2022, which adds a dimension of surreal familiarity.

Starting in a hotel bar in New York City, the action takes the audience on a wild journey across several near-death experiences, an intrigue-filled train trip to Chicago, a game of hit-the-deck with a crop duster and culminates in a harrowing scramble across a President’s face on North Dakota’s Mount Rushmore.

The cast of many characters, aptly played by a cast of surprisingly few, are all polished actors of incredible skill with impressive credits to all their names but special mention, of course, must go to the star of the show, David Campbell, playing Roger O. Thornhill, the unfortunate soul whose life is turned upside down by a case of mistaken identity.

Campbell’s energy never wavers for a second and his portrayal of initial irritation at the identity confusion quickly gives way to a frantic quest for survival.

His impressive 50s American drawl too, is rock solid.

Keeping The Audience On Their Toes

Amber McMahon, playing the ubiquitous Hitchcock blonde, is excellent as Eve Kendall and the snappy dialogue between McMahon and Campbell and in fact, the entire cast is perfectly paced, keeping the action tight and their audience on their toes.

The versatile sets are a study in simplicity and the simple steel structures are brought to life by the accomplished acting of the entire cast and the use of pre-recorded and live-action projections are a delight to behold and a medium put to smart use in this production.

The projections, which end up almost being a character of the play unto themselves, worked to lighten the mood of the audience somewhat, which was a welcome contrast to the tinge of dread everyone was feeling at the thought of being ensnared by similar maladies of mistaken identify and how they would react in that situation.

‘North By Northwest’ is playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from March 9, 2022 – April 3, 2022. For tickets, check the Sydney Lyric Theatre website

 

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