Arts Club Theatre Company presents The 39 Steps

Where Hitchcock meets hilarious

The 39 Steps is a witty take on the Hitchcock classic on February 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

Take one alluring and mysterious woman, add a murder accusation, a missing finger, and an effort to foil foreign spies, and you have The 39 Steps. This witty take on the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie will have the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter at The Chilliwack Cultural Centre on February 25.

A comedic adaptation by Patrick Barlow, The 39 Steps reenacts the 1935 film nearly verbatim, but with only four actors. Whether by changing hats or postures, the physicality and vocal talent of the four performers is astounding as they transform from one character to another.

Part juicy spy novel, part Monty Python, The 39 Steps preserves the brilliance originally created by the master of suspense, director Alfred Hitchcock in this Tony award-winning show that kept Broadway entertained for years.

The 39 Steps started as a World War I espionage novel by Scottish author John Buchan. It became an Alfred Hitchcock film in 1935. Then it was adapted for the stage and opened in London as a hit comedy, ran on Broadway and is now coming to Chilliwack.

A thrilling show for all ages, Patrick Barlow’s brilliant adaptation, based on the novel and the classic film.

Four incredibly talented actors morph into all kinds of zany characters in this tongue-in-cheek adaptation that just might give you vertigo. One actor (Jay Hindle), only plays the main character Richard Hannay; one female actor (Diana Coatsworth) plays the three female love interests; and two actors (Shawn Macdonald, David Marr) perform the rest of the cast of over a hundred, including the occasional inanimate object. This is a fast-paced romp through the story of Hitchcock’s film that makes a very funny transposition of the film onto the stage that you won’t soon forget.

The bored main character, Richard Hannay makes eyes at a mysterious woman only to return to his London home later where the woman is discovered dead. Thrown headlong into a run for his life, a mysterious spy organization alternately pursues and is pursued by him, from London to Scotland and back again.

Both hindering and helping him is the beautiful, classy dame Pamela who, despite her best efforts, ends up shackled, literally, to a man she thinks is a murderer.

Meanwhile, the police and the spy organization are closing in on Richard. With the use of simple props and flexible set pieces the stage will transport audience members from urban London to the rustic hills of Scotland, with all the various methods of travel needed to get there.

With an atmosphere of cold mists, steam engines and the thrill of a mystery we witness a love story unfold as this ludicrous and playful farce moves at a breakneck speed.

“Absurdly enjoyable! This gleefully theatrical riff on Hitchcock’s film is fast and frothy, performed by a cast of four that seems like a cast of thousands,” said The New York Times.

The 39 Steps, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at the box office or 604-391-SHOW(7469).

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