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The 39 Steps at Theatre Royal Windsor

Siobhan Newman

The 39 Steps at Theatre Royal Windsor

Until Saturday, August 17

Hitchcock fans, thriller lovers and anyone who loves a good giggle, step into an inventive take on this classic story of escape and espionage played by just four actors swapping hats and accents at bullet speed.

Barn Theatre has taken John Buchan’s thriller, via the 1930s Hitchcock film, and brought physical comedy and theatrical inventiveness to create a fun and fast-paced show.

Handsome hero Richard Hannay is tired of London and bored with life when he encounters an mysterious woman at the London Palladium. Annabella Shmidt is being followed by agents (trying to hide under a series of lampposts) but manages to tell Richard about a map showing Alt-na-Shellach in Scotland and mention ‘The 39 Steps’ before she is murdered at his flat.

With a warrant out for his arrest, Richard flees London, fooling policeman, double-crossing secret agents and a milkman on his way.

Can he convice Pamela, the girl he kissed on a train in an attempt to hide his face, of his innocence? And will he ever reach Alt-na-Shellach, or even be able to say it properly?

Max Hutchison plays Richard Hannay with aplomb, not to mention a plum in his mouth. Tricia Adele-Turner, Jonathan Bourne and Colin Elmer are all versatile and very funny in the myriad of other roles. I particularly loved the windy top-of-the train scene, Annabella’s core strengh and the suspicious crofter and the serpentine professor.

Great slapstick mixed up with delightful jokes, it’s got to end well.

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