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The 39 Steps at the Barn Theatre


Review: The 39 Steps
Barn Theatre, Cirencester
10 July -10 August 2019

What ho! A night at the theatre, you say? A Hitchcock parody with comedy capes and feats of derring-do. Jolly hockey sticks! Let’s go!

Launching their own brand, ‘Built by Barn’, Cirencester’s The Barn Theatre have opened with a laugh-a-minute production of the old charmer, ‘The 39 Steps’. Artistic Director, Iwan Lewis has lined up a programme packed with delight this season and Joseph O’Malley is a great choice of Director to pave the way. 

Patrick Barlow’s adaptation originally found fame in the music-hall inspired Criterion Theatre in London, only departing the West End in 2015. The Barn is no Victorian theatre but the ultra-modern performance space in Cirencester offers an alternative luxury to O’Malley’s production with its uber-new technology flooding the stage. The sound score alone is a dastardly beast with over 1200 cues, each kerplunk, ding and thwack keeping the skilled sound designers, Chris Cleal and Harry Smith, on their toes.

Slick timing is of the essence in this pint-sized production. Four silver-tongued actors grace the stage in a fast paced, quick change comedy, showcasing a staggering 139 characters between them. Jonathan Bourne and Colin Elmer steal the show with their hilarious antics in multiple roles. Alongside, recurring femme fatale, Tricia Adele-Turner, their energy is astounding and the dedication shown to the diverse range of characters is superb. Hats fly, coats are whipped on and off and Scottish dialects a-plenty are mastered as fugitive protagonist, Richard Hannay, dashingly delivered by Max Hutchinson, whisks his way from London to the Highlands on a mission of intrigue and reckless bravery. Cheap gags are forgiven alongside an inventive display of theatrical skill wherein the cast deliver multiple chase scenes, including a wind-swept pursuit across the top of a moving train.

Enjoy witty dialogue, physical slapstick and timeless humour in this well-drilled display that keeps the guffaws coming from the tickled and thoroughly engaged audience. A madcap evening of entertainment for all ages is guaranteed. Take your friends, take your family and, if Bob’s your uncle, you should definitely take him along too… It’s a classic.

Review by GB


The 39 Steps at the Barn Theatre



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