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The 39 Steps - Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

Published by: Paul Tyree on 2nd Apr 2013 | View all blogs by Paul Tyree
The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow
Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield  2 - 6 April 2013


For anyone who has seen the several film and tv adaptations of John Buchnan's work, this adaptation by Patrick Barlow will come as a refreshing and perhaps blessed relief.

It is fresh, funny, well written, acted and directed and therefore a wonderful, if brief evening at the theatre. If the adage goes, 'always leave them wanting more' then this adaptation certainly does that. Such is the variety of stage craft on show it virtually makes your head whirl at the thought processes involved in making this one of the most cleverly directed evenings at the theatre that you're ever likely to see.

The cast of four inhabit a veritable sea of different characters and do so with aplomb and great skill. Richard Ede as Hannay, the main character, manages to look like and convince as the sort of Englishman that perhaps never really existed but we sorely hope actually did. He is effortless and charming and definately one to watch for the future. Charlotte Peters as the sole female, inhabiting several different female roles is a recent graduate, but this never shows as she performs with skill, humour and some depth and is a more than capable foil to Mr Ede's Hannay.

Special mention must also go to Tony Bell and Gary Mackay who carry perhaps the greatest burden of this production, inhabiting at least a dozen characters each but making them all recognisable and very funny indeed. This shows their wonderful stage craft and goes to prove that a small cast need not necessarily mean a small production.

What I remember most although, apart from the very funny script, is just how well directed this play is. The number of times that this production manages to surprise almost equal the number of times it manages to bring the audience into the joke. With a minimum of fuss and a few props this company manages to transport us to all the places you might see in the movie, but manage to make them more vital, real and enjoyable than they have ever been before.

It simply remains to say that Patrick Barlow has taken what is traditionally a pretty pedestrian thriller and changed it into something much more fun and intelligent but no less thrilling for that. For Sheffield patrons it's an absolute must see.


Wed 3 Apr 7:45pm   £15.00 - £22.00 Book Tickets
Thu 4 Apr 2:00pm   £12.00 - £19.00 Book Tickets
Thu 4 Apr 7:45pm Audio Described, Signed £15.00 - £22.00 Book Tickets
Fri 5 Apr 7:45pm   £22.00 - £29.00 Book Tickets
Sat 6 Apr 3:00pm Captioned £13.00 - £20.00 Book Tickets
Sat 6 Apr 7:45pm   £22.00 - £29.00 Book Tickets


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 5 years ago
    I must agree with every word, Paul. Fresh, clever, witty ... must see!
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