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Theatre / The 39 Steps

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The 39 Steps is a 2006 comedic play which adapts the 1935 Hitchcock thriller The 39 Steps using a cast of only four actors. To give an idea of the style, the Forth Bridge train is a model train on a track at the back of the stage and pretty much everyone plays at least a dozen roles.

This play contains:

  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Four actors play every role in the movie, sometimes having to play two characters in the same scene. Traditionally it's one actor for the main character, one actress for all the attractive women, and two other actors for everything else. Scenery not excluded.
  • Ninja Prop: When our hero's attention is drawn to the pair of spies standing under a lamp post outside, said spies rush on stage carrying the lamp post, then off and on again every time Hannay looks like he's going to peek out the window.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • After a particularly extravagant and long-winded series of costume changes, "Hannay the actor can't take any more" and exclaims "Oh just get on with it!!"
  • Ominous Fog: At least it is once they get the fog machine working.
    "Look how the fog's closing in. (beat) I said LOOK HOW THE FOG'S CLOSING IN!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Those Two Guys: Because there are only two guys other than Hannay, this pops up a lot. Examples include the underwear salesmen, the police officers, the heavies, the Sheriff and Chief Inspector, Dunwoody and McQuarrie, and Compere and Mr. Memory.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The villains get a historical upgrade from World War I spies and anarchists to the exponents of a Master Race.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Hannay initially mistakes the Scottish farmer's wife for his daughter.