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39 Steps

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published April 1st 2011

I say, old fellow, there's something particularly amusing about that production of The 39 Steps that they're playing in that Criterion Theatre, what ho.

Oh yes, it's that same gripping yarn as what that dashed clever John Buchan wrote about in that magazine serial in 1915. You know, the one made more famous by the Alfred Hitchcock version that came out in '35, and the radio jobby that man Orson Wells did in '39. But with something of a difference, dear chap: there are only four actors in it! And they have to play all the roles, of which there are apparently 139. Who'd have thought it could be done?

He gets the girl
He gets the girl
You wouldn't credit it but it's true, they get up to all sorts of theatrical clevernesses to keep up the show: sleights of hand, lighting tricks and all manner of things with dummies and dolls. But when it comes down to it those three actors and one actress do a smashingly good job of it, and they manage to make you laugh about it as well. Clever things.

The Great Escape
The Great Escape
None of the highlights you'll remember from the other versions are missing old boy, they manage the 'Chase on the Flying Scotsman' scene, the 'Escape on the Forth Bridge' scene, the bi-plane crash, and the near death defying ending.

These clever folks came up with this format for the show in 2006, and they started playing in a much smaller theatre, you know, but transferred to The Criterion where they've been happily going about their business for the past few years. And hopefully we'll have a chance to go and see it together, what not? I promise I won't spoil the ending, old chum.
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Why? It's a jolly good show, old boy
When: Monday to Saturday at 8pm Wednesday Matinee 3pm Saturday Matinee 4pm
Where: The Criterion Theatre, on the Piccadilly, nearest station Piccadilly circus
Cost: 15 - 47.50
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