Cumberland Times-News


October 21, 2012

We’re fortunate to have the Cumberland Theatre in our city

As the Cumberland Theatre celebrates its 25 years in the community, we should remind ourselves how lucky we are to have such a treasure in our midst.

No better way than to attend a performance of its current production of “The 39 Steps.” Having taken in a recent show, I fully intend to return at least once more, this time, hopefully, with friends.

What a delight, and not at all what one might expect if familiar with John Buchan’s classic counter-spy novel, set largely in the highlands of Scotland.

This version is an unapologetic spoof of Buchan’s masterpiece of suspense, first filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. It is a “take-off,” alternately witty and zany, not only of the original, but of others of the ilk.

There is the familiar mixture of suspense, surprise and dare-devil action, but all of it tongue in cheek and with a generous dose of music-hall goofiness. If you are a John Cleese fan, enough said.

This production absolutely dazzles. Friday night the audience, with their spontaneous rounds of applause and outbursts of sidesplitting laughter, confirmed my own reactions. And what a tour de force!

Four multi-talented actors play more than 30 times that number of parts. I, as a linguist, found their mastery of regional and social class British accents — with sudden departures into German — really impressive, especially when used for comic effect.

The lightening-fast costume and hair — and gender — changes alone are astounding. The set, within the necessary confines of the theater’s small and open stage, is ingenious, the use of a scrim with silhouettes on sticks is funny in itself.

The pace is unrelentingly brisk, the contortions and “gymnastics” unbelievable.

Performances run through Oct. 28 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For reservations, call 301-759-4990.

Robert Riggs



Text Only
  • Restore them Restore them

    There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
    bring these men and women some dignity after death.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Support the March for Babies May 3 at Canal Place

    At the March of Dimes, we promise to work tirelessly toward the day when all babies are born healthy.
    The March of Dimes has worked for more than 75 years to help babies get a healthy start in life.

    April 20, 2014

  • Happy Easter

    For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
    The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.

    April 20, 2014

  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014