City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The 39 Steps, Kings Theatre Edinburgh, Review


By Katie Mitchell - Posted on 20 April 2016

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Show Details
Venue: 
King's Theatre
Production: 
Maria Aitken (Director), Toby Sedgwick (Movement Director), James Farrell (Tour Director), Patrick Barlow (Adaptation), Peter McKintosh (Designer), Alfred Hitchcock (Film Concept), John Buchan (Novelist)
Performers: 
Richard Ede (Richard Hannay), Olivia Greene (Pamela/Annabella/Margaret), Andrew Hodges (Man 2), Rob Witcomb (Man 1)
Running time: 
100mins

1 book + 3 films + 39 Steps = a touring West End show, jam packed full of adventure! The classic John Buchan novel The 39 Steps has been ever popular since it was first published in 1915 and has since gone on to be an iconic British novel celebrating the nation’s culture. It now embarks on a UK tour making a stop in Scotland’s Capital (of which the play is partly set) at one of the original variety theatres, The Kings Theatre, Edinburgh and “My God, Old Chap!” does this production exude variety!

The show is inspired by the great Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic movie (of the same name) which was one of his most successful films of all time, even Buchan himself is believed to have preferred it to his own novel. Hitchcock’s original classic spy thriller, portrays the story of heart throb and the original James Bond, Richard Hannay (Richard Ede) and his perfect pencil moustache, who finds himself in a bit of a pickle. Hannay is chased through the Scottish Highlands by Scotland Yard and a few tricky spies, handcuffed to a beautiful blonde he comes across a series of interesting characters … 139 characters to be exact - “Golly!”

Incredibly, these characters are only played by four actors who interchange their roles constantly with such specifity and at a heart racing pace. Richard Ede, Olivia Greene, Andrew Hodges and Rob Witcomb must be given credit for their work as an ensemble. They work together in harmony and seamless perfection as well as setting the stage alight with their energy, quick witted improvisations and their impeccable comedic timing which keeps the audience on their edge of their seat.

Direction from Maria Aitken pays tribute to the genius that was Alfred Hitchcock but with a modern 21st century twist which electrifies the whole production and adds a great wealth of colour to his original black and white film. Toby Sedgwick creates slick, tight movements which adds to the comedy of the play and transports us back to the classic British farcical age, reminiscent of the work of Charlie Chaplin and British Variety shows which the Kings Theatre once played host to.

This is a highly impressive British Comedy which has been playing to audience’s world-wide for over six decades. The 39 Steps is a play that should continue to grow and let’s hope it graces our stage for many more years to come.

Run @ Kings Theatre Edinburgh from 19th-23rd April 7.30pm (Matinees Wed/Sat 2.30pm)