This comedy stage adaptation of John Buchan’s 1935 novel The 39 Steps has been keeping audiences amused at the Criterion theatre for nearly two years, and won Best Comedy at the Laurence Olivier Awards 2007. Based on the book and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film noir, this stage version of The 39 Steps was devised by Patrick Barlow (aka The National Theatre Of Brent) and started life at West Yorkshire Playhouse before transferring to the Tricycle theatre and then London’s West End.
The story of The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay, a bored London gentleman whose life suddenly becomes infinitely more interesting when a woman is murdered in his apartment. Who is she? Why did she take refuge with him? And what are the mysterious 39 Steps? Framed for her murder, Hannay flees London for Scotland on a mission to find out the answers to these and other questions. Along the way he comes across an assortment of unusual and mysterious characters and is reluctantly accompanied by prim Pamela, who inadvertently finds herself handcuffed to Hannay.
This theatrical version of The 39 Steps features all the famous scenes from the hitherto ‘unstageable’ film, including the chase on the Flying Scotsman, Hannay’s escape on the Forth Bridge, a bi-plane crash and the death-defying finale in the London Palladium. With a tongue-in-cheek humour, 1930s costumes and just four cast members playing a reported 150 roles between them, this is a slick, fast-paced, whirlwind of a comedy.