Quick-fire scene changes and sparkling word play were the key to a successful production of The 39 Steps which opened at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on Monday evening.
Based on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film (which was itself inspired by John Buchan’s novel), the play features just four actors who take on 139 roles in 100 minutes.
It tells the story of Richard Hannay, a dandy who tries to clear his name of murder by dismantling a spy ring called the 39 Steps.
The actors moved quickly from one character to the next and the dramatic scenes were artfully executed, notably when the central character Richard Hannay clings to the Forth Bridge in Scotland as he tries to escape from the police.
With several nods to Hitchcock, including music from his film Psycho, this is a slick production which gently pokes fun at both spy thrillers and the theatre in general.
The play is on until Saturday. For details see www.trch.co.uk.