Arts Club on Tour
The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel by John Buchan

Dates and Venue 20 February – 16 March 2013 | Various venues around Metro Vancouver

Director Dean Paul Gibson Set Designer Ted Roberts Costume Designer Rebekka Sorensen Lighting Designer Marsha Sibthorpe and Darren Hales Sound Designer Murray Price Stage Manager Louis-Marie Bournival

Reviewer Cassie Silva

I was lucky enough to drop in on this touring production when it made a stop at the Surrey Arts Centre. Billed as “Hitchcock meets hilarious!”, this zany comedy was based on the classic film by Alfred Hitchcock, which in turn was based on the novel by John Buchan.

The four talented actors play over 150 roles in the span of two acts– sometimes playing multiple ones at the exact same time! This was the most creative staging I have ever seen – it is worth seeing just for the shadow puppetry scenes alone, let alone the brilliant usage of props and set pieces.

I am not a huge Hitchcock fan, but I managed to pick out several inside jokes from his movies that made their way into the production. If Austin Powers and Monty Python had a lovechild raised in 1930’s Britain, this spoof would be it. The program described it as a “fast-paced romp” and the time really did fly by. I could have easily watched the zaniness for another hour.

The set looked simple enough – a backdrop with two ladders. But the four cast members brought it to life and we audience members felt transported to a plethora of different locations – including a chase scene atop a moving train! I don’t normally recommend shows as “must-see” but this gem is the exception.

The 39 Steps is the epitome of what live theatre should be.

© 2013 Cassie Silva