Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Raucous nod to famous spy film

THE East Belfast Arts Festival kicked off last night in fine style with Kandu Theatre's light-hearted adaptation of The 39 Steps.

Playing Roger de Bris and Max Bialystock respectively in Peter Corry's production of The Producers had clearly rubbed off on local actors Samuel Moore and Aaron Kavanagh, who brought much of the same broad, absurdist style of humour.

Indeed, the Mel Brooks influence was all over Ross Chambers's staging of the West End comedy version of the classic John Buchan adventure novel, as well as touches of the Marx Brothers, Monty Python and Michael Frayn.

This was nothing like Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film version – in a good way. Witty wordplay, silly accents, bad puns, in-jokes, running jokes, breaking of the fourth wall, physical humour, slapstick, innuendo and wacky sound effects all featured in this two-hour tour de farce.

Without much of a budget to play with, the troupe made a feature of their amateurishness, coming up with ever dafter – yet ingenious – ways to portray everything from a window to the Forth Bridge.

A very talented bunch – without a shadow of a doubt.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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