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‘Hitchcock Blonde’: too many plots and a plodding script

Terry Johnson’s “Hitchcock Blonde” centers on the mystery of a lost film by the famed director Alfred Hitchcock; or maybe it’s about a college professor with desires or a student with secrets; or maybe it’s about Janet Leigh’s body double from “Psyc

Terry Johnson’s “Hitchcock Blonde” centers on the mystery of a lost film by the famed director Alfred Hitchcock; or maybe it’s about a college professor with desires or a student with secrets; or maybe it’s about Janet Leigh’s body double from “Psycho” trying to deal with her own troubles at home. Or maybe…

Johnson loads “Hitchcock Blonde” with ideas aplenty but never brings them together — except in the most obvious ways. This hamstrings the actors and designers at the Jungle Theater, who gamely make the best of this sow’s ear of a play.

Using a trio of settings and a mixture of live action and video, “Hitchcock Blonde” attempts to get under the skin of Hitchcock and his obsessions. This is most effective when the teacher/student pair investigate the mystery of a lost silent film from 1919. Using only a few remaining frames of film, they attempt to reconstruct the story and ponder why it was lost. Far less effective is the middle sequence, which thrusts Hitchcock and the body double into a plot drawn straight from the films.

Johnson’s script takes its own sweet time to get anywhere, and its revelations aren’t all that interesting. Still, the performers are to be commended, including Heidi Bakke and J.C. Cutler as the modern-day pair, and Tom Sherohman, who has both the look and presence to pull off the “classic” Hitchcock.

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Director and designer Joel Sass deftly pulls these diverse threads together, and there are sequences amid the three-hour show that offer both thrills and insight. Those, however, aren’t enough to make “Hitchcock Blonde” any more than an evening of frustrating potential.

Hitchcock Blonde runs through March 8 at the Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis. Tickets are $28 to $36. Call 612-822-7063 or go online.