The 39 Steps
Friday 8th - Saturday 16th October 2021
The 39 Steps is a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1935 film of John Buchan’s gripping whodunit, this Olivier, Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a cast of four) an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers and some good old-fashioned romance.
One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay, an actress plays the three women with whom he has romantic entanglements, and two other actors male or female play every other character in the show: heroes, villains, men, women, children and even the occasional inanimate object!
This will require lightning-fast quick-changes and occasionally the playing of multiple characters at once. The film's serious spy story is played mainly for laughs, and the script is full of allusions to (and puns on the titles of) other Hitchcock films, including Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo and North by Northwest.
Director - Jason Blackburn
Assistant Director - Mike Bottomley
Production Secretary - Carol Bowman
Adventurer Richard Hannay is the wrong man, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whilst at a London theatre, attending a demonstration of the remarkable powers of “Mr. Memory”, a man with a photographic memory, a fight breaks out and a shot is fired. In the ensuing panic, Hannay finds himself standing next to the exotic and mysterious Annabella Schmidt, who begs for his help.
Returning to his flat, Annabella reveals that she is a spy, being chased by assassins out to kill her. She claims to have uncovered a plot to steal vital British military secrets, implemented by a man who is the head of an espionage organization called “The 39 Steps.”
The next day Hannay wakes to find Annabella stabbed to death. Knowing he’ll be accused of her murder and with no evidence to back up Annabella’s story, Hannay realises the only way to prove his innocence is to find the leader of the espionage group and stop him before it is too late.
With foreign agents hot on his trail and every policeman in the country looking for him, Hannay embarks on a race against time that requires quick thinking, death defying stunts and endless amounts of energy. The fun continues as this frenetic farce careens from across the country from muddle to mess with mistaken identities, and tongue-in-cheek references to everything we like about murder mysteries and film noir detective movies until it reaches its’ breathless nerve-jangling conclusion.
I encourage anyone interested in auditioning to watch the 1935 film version starring Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll as the overwhelming objective of the stage version is to capture the characterisation, look, feel and energy of the original. This will be a physically demanding production.