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The standing ovation speaks volumes!

The 39 Steps Directed by Theresa Heskins

Review by David Bithell

The 39 Steps has returned to The New Vic again after an amazing run last year which saw sell out shows.

I was fortunate enough to see this twice last time around so I knew what was in store, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed because it was as funny as I remembered it.

The 39 Steps is a film by Alfred Hitchcock from 1935. Unlike the film, Theresa Heskins has bought this to life on stage and is fast paced, very funny and packed with loads of slapstick comedy that will leave you with a huge smile on your face throughout.

The plot centres around the dashing but lonely Richard Hannay, played by Isaac Stanmore, who ironically visits the theatre to try and cheer himself up. He then meets the mysterious Annabella Schmidt played by Rebecca Brewer and ends up being embroiled in a story full of twists and turns as he is wanted for murder and tries to find the answers to the clues given to him by the victim herself.

Theresa Heskins has again reunited last year's amazing 39 Steps cast including New Vic royalty Michael Hugo and Gareth Cassidy, who are referred to in the programme notes as clowns. They are fun to watch as they switch from character after character as they perform in various outfits as the story unfolds in front of our eyes. I dare you to try and keep a straight face as the duo light up the stage.

Isaac Stanmore portrays the main man Richard Hannay who begins the play with words of self pity. Brewer plays a range of strong females including Annabella, Margaret and Pamela, whom finally steals the heart of Hannay. With effortless ease Brewer flicks between a sharp Russian secret agent, a sweet and innocent Scottish girl and Pamela, a lady who gets entangled in the mystery.

The play is described as “an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle, wrapped up in a mystery”, in which the stage set is based around. As the story plays out, pay close attention to the set as different words are lit around the staging to reveal secret codes.

The cast amazingly play over 100 parts throughout the play in which you are left amazed.

The 39 Steps is a glorious and fast paced play which will leave you breathless at times, but the tricks and capers are not just for laughs, they are all part of a clever script, a script that will leave you plenty of belly laughs and tears of joy.

If you missed this play the first time around, then you must go and see it this time, you really wont be disappointed.

The 39 Steps runs at The New Vic Theatre until Saturday, March 28

Box office 01782 717 962


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