Laugh a minute spoof of classic tale

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart as Hannay and Katherine Kingsley as Annabella Photo by Tristram Kenton

Light my dear: Dugald Bruce-Lockhart as Hannay and Katherine Kingsley as Annabella Photo by Tristram Kenton

The 39 Steps

Birmingham Repertory Theatre

***** 

IT IS 1915 and handsome Richard Hannay is bored with life since he returned from his travels, he is alone with no chums and tired of reading of elections and wars and rumours of wars in the newspapers.  He decides that he needs to do something mindless and trivial. ” I know!  I'll go to the theatre!”   

From that moment on we are treated to non-stop comedy action in Fiery Angel's production of John Buchan's classic, The 39 Steps.   

The audience is delighted as the spoof thriller unfolds.  Hannay is mistakenly accused of the murder of Annabella Schmidt, and becomes a fugitive from the law, travelling by train to Scotland to seek out a German spy. We follow as he is chased through the Scottish Highlands, uncovers the truth about the dastardly Professor Jordan and then returns to London to discover the meaning of the 39 Steps from musical hall entertainer, Mr Memory. 

All four players are brilliant. Dugald Bruce-Lockhart is playful and mischievous as the hero, Hannay, with stiff-upper-lip, Harris tweeds and a rather attractive pencil moustache. 

 He is the only member of the cast to play one character throughout.  Katherine Kingsley is ravishing as the mysterious and unfortunate Annabella Schmidt.  She also plays love interests Margaret and hard to get Pamela

 

Richard Braine and Dan Starkey as travelling underwear salesmen

 

The show is full of great comedy and laugh-out-loud moments thanks to the outstanding Richard Braine and Dan Starkey, as . . . everubody else. Their character and costume changes are excellently choreographed, swift-paced and very funny.   

Toby Sedgewick, Movement Director, is responsible for the clever use of shadow puppetry as Hannay is chased on foot and by plane across the Scottish highlands. 

This spoof version of the 1915 classic is the latest of many adaptations, of which Hitchcock's version is recognised as the best film. Watch out for veiled references to many of his films.  

This production of the 39 Steps opened in 2006 and won an Oliver in 2007 and two Tonys in 2008   Patrick Barlow's adaptation is imaginatively directed by Maria Aitken and the cast of four play an amazing 139 roles in 90 minutes and well deserved five-star recognition for top class entertainment. To 08-05-10

Lynda Ford

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