The 39 Steps is the writing of John Buchan, immortalised in Hicthcock’s film and now a roaring success as a West End play. Much more comedy has been injected into this spy caper and it is perhaps one of the most hilarious things on stage.
The story is of Richard Hannay, wrongly accused of murder and what follows is the turbulent yet often brilliant journey to Scotland and back. What this production does exceptionally well is its striking execution. The brilliant theatrical physicality of the four actors is tantamount to the show’s success. The humour is old fashioned, slapstick and quintessentially British. The added comedy is much welcome and makes for a grand evening.
As Mr. Hannay, Richard Ede is the dashing and clever sort, holding the show together in his gripping and clever way. Olivia Greene is playing a terrific trio of roles: Pamela, Annabella and Margaret, she is brimming with grace, wit and strength. Gigantic praise indeed for Rob Witcomb and Andrew Hodges as Man 1 & 2. Playing between them an innumerable amount of characters, the humour and passion seen from them both is what makes them steal the show. Whether it’s milkmen, maids, policemen, spies, Scottish locals, gossiping commuters and so many more, they deliver total varying takes in every single person they portray, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment.
So many highlights to mention: the shadow puppetry skit is a favourite part, the many nods to Hitchcock and his film work, the super speed of Witcomb and Hodges changing roles, the escape on the top of the train, the fluttering of the actors costumes when it’s windy. It’s just oh so brilliantly done.
This is a production with much president. Those those that haven’t seen it, should be remonstrated and then forced to see it.
Rating: 5 stars
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Image Credit to The 39 Steps Facebook Page