The 39 Steps at Richmond Theatre, London. It’s an exhilarating journey of one man on the run. What drives the narrative is its busting repertoire of carefully crafted slapstick thrown at the audience, which is brilliant. Perfectly timed, of structured and ad-lib physical jokes and less than impeccably or the (un)seamlessly timed delivered set changes, premeditated of course, however, this adds to the excitement of what could happen next, a real adventure of the senses.
The 39 Steps could be easily set in Berlin to Moscow during the Cold War, if placed in a different time and context, which demonstrates the versatility of this reworked adaptation.
The accidental hero, which is Richard Hannay played by Richard Ede, who is clever on stage, pinning together this contextually defined journey of misdirection, deception, unpredicted honesty, and unfulfilled or unexpected romance through an atmospheric monologue of enterprising set changes between the characters.
Pamela/Annabella/Margaret adds unexpected altruistic, selfless, sharpness to Richard Hannay’s masteries of his own helpless and chaos, responding only to the events moving around him, to a certain extent. It is Richard Hannay’s charming and silver tongued tête-à-tête, which gets him out of trouble, whether he realises it or not, at the very last moment.
Richard Hannay provides an unconventional master class of espionage, in how to deal with the murky world of spooks and the local trustworthy but finicky policeman. The romantic sub plot is nimble and energetic. Richard Hannay’s travels are fraught with uncertainty, always on the brink, of finding the love of his life, but always snatched away from him, by the pursing agencies or a grumpy farmer.
The good guy gets the girl. Without a doubt, hats off go to Man 1 and Man 2, their energy and precision, which brought further consciousness and humour to this cheeky thriller, was an absolute treat, adding more danger to Richard Hannay’s panicky chances of rest and contentment. The Ensemble of Richard Ede, Olivia Greene (Annabella, Pamela and Margaret), Andrew Hodges (Man 2) and Rob Witcomb (Man 1) is absolutely genius. This play is a must-see. Take someone, anyone, and watch the 39 Steps while it is on tour. You will not be disappointed.
Review by Lee Knight
The 39 Steps
Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller, The 39 Steps, brilliantly and hilariously recreated for the stage as the smash hit Olivier Award-Winning Comedy is now on tour after 9 years in London’s West End.
Follow the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women.
This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.
Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th February 2016
Grand Opera House York
Monday 14th to Saturday 19th March 2016
Theatre Royal Glasgow
Monday 16th May to Saturday 21st May 2016