Arundel Players are tackling the multi-award winning, fast-paced whodunit The 39 Steps for their next production.
Directed by Tony Hudson, it opens on April 1 for six nights at the Priory Playhouse in Arundel.
The book, thought by some to be one of the finest thrillers ever written, has been adapted for film, television, stage and radio and has captured the imagination of audiences for decades.
The play is a parody adapted from the original archetypal spy thriller novel, The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan and the film directed by master film-maker, Alfred Hitchcock.
The original concept and production of the four-actor version of the novel was re-written in 2005 by Patrick Barlow. From it, he has fashioned a mix of Hitchcock masterpiece and juicy spy novel with a dash of Monty Python – a two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat featuring zany characters, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance all thrown in.
The cast of just four actors play more than 150 characters in a fast-paced tale of an ordinary man on an extraordinary adventure.
Tony said: “The production’s serious spy theme is played mainly for laughs, which is why I enjoy directing comedies.
“You get an instant reaction from the audience, and there is no better feeling than hearing audience laughter.
“Richard Hannay, played by Harry Rippon, is an appealing antihero, both cool and brave, who is a combination of sleuth and action man who becomes embroiled in an international spy ring related to the mysterious 39 steps.
“Angela Barber plays his unwilling accomplice plus two other roles. Roger Booth and Andre Bougard play all the remaining characters, requiring quick changes and clever lighting effects.”
Tony added: “I’ve wanted to direct this really witty play for some time as it is such a classic.
“It has been challenging, not only for the cast, but also the backstage team, particularly Allan Farrow, our stage designer, as the action takes place in numerous locations.
“This is the second production I have directed for Arundel Players.
“My first play was When We Were Married, which was a sell-out two years ago and I’m hoping that The 39 Steps will have the same audience appeal.”
Performances start at 7.30pm from April 1 to 6. Tickets for The 39 Steps at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9FA cost £12 and are available from the box office on 07523 417926.