Success was just 39 steps away

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BOSTON Playgoers recently presented The 39 Steps at Blackfriars Theatre – and those of you who didn’t see it, you missed a real treat.

Adapted from Alfred Hitchcock’s version of the original John Buchan story by Patrick Barlow the production was completely hilarious.

The original story - man learns of national secret about to be smuggled to the enemy and spends next two hours highly confused while yomping through the Scottish Highlands handcuffed to a strange girl - was ripe for parody and this, splendidly, was it.

Peter Kay as the long suffering, slightly irascible character Richard Hannay was excellent. The part is somewhat thankless as Hannay in this version is not so much the hero as the stooge and fall guy to all the bizarre and grotesque characters he happens across.

This requires him solemnly carrying the narrative and doing it very believably.

Rachel Rowett and Jo Carling both displayed very good comedy abilities, Rachel as Hannay’s handcuffed love interest and Jo in a couple of cameo roles which demonstrated two very competent accents.

Comedy highlights of the play, a selection of thugs, policemen, porters, crofters, landladies, villains and general riff-raff were played by Danny Chester-Bush and David Edgar.

Principal congratulations should go to the production as a whole; it maintained pace, the sound effects were spot on, the scene changes quick and built into the action so that they were virtually seamless and the direction excellent.