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39 Steps Tickets

Running Time: 2 hours
Venue: Criterion Theatre
Venue Directions: Take the Bakerloo or Piccadilly line to Piccadilly Circus station. The theatre is directly outside the station.
Seating Plan: Criterion Theatre

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About 39 Steps

The 39 Steps play is based on the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name originally filmed in 1935 which itself was adapted from a novel originally penned by John Buchan in 1915. The 39 Steps is unusual in that the entire story is played out by just four actors. One playing the hero, another playing the women with whom the lead has affairs and the other two actors make up every other character in the story. This style of play certainly leads to some interesting theatre as the actors flick about the stage, making quick changes and playing multiple characters at any one time. In fact, the four actors play 139 separate roles in around 100 minutes!

The 39 Steps play originally started life in Yorkshire in 2005 before moving to the West End in 2006. A year later, it won the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best Comedy.

The story is one of mystery and espionage as the main character (Richard Hannay) is caught up in a relationship with Annabella Schmidt who claims to be a spy who has uncovered a plot to steal British military secrets. The espionage organisation known as 'the 39 steps' is behind the plot. Spending the night together, Richard wakes up to discover this mysterious woman, apparently stabbed to death with his own bread knife. He leaves, following the trail she suggested to him and going in search of the man at the head of the 39 steps organisation. But with the police hot on his trail, will he manage to solve the mystery in time?

For the stage, the 39 Steps has been given a comic twist, with daft jokes and awkwardly quick costume changes which almost turn the original story into a spoof. The props are used to comedic effect and add to the quality of the show – with shadow puppetry even used to represent a crashing bi-plane. The 39 Steps ends up being a thoroughly amusing play which works well for most audiences and will have you in stitches. It's clever and charming and with such a small cast, very well performed.

The 39 Steps is a thoroughly British play, complete with stiff-upper-lippedness, pencil moustaches and dastardly murders. The current cast consists of Dermot Canavan, Sean Kearns, Laura Rogers and Rufus Wright playing the lead roles with Andrew Alexander, Jennifer Bryden and James Hurn as understudies.

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39 Steps News

39 Steps to Close in September

Long running comedy The 39 Steps has announced that it will close on 5 September 2015 at the Criterion Theatre, after nine years at the venue. The production had been...  read more

Published: Jun 19 2015 12:10PM

Multiple Shows Extend Booking Periods

A number of show have recently announced extensions to their booking periods   The 39 Steps has extended its booking...  read more

Published: May 22 2014 10:20AM