Belfast Telegraph

The 39 Steps: Uproarious take on film classic not to be missed

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

By Frances Burscough

It is virtually impossible to describe the phenomenon that is Bruiser Theatre Company's production of The 39 Steps without waving my hands around in the air, jumping up and down and attempting assorted weird and wonderful sound effects.

Words can't do it justice because it is extraordinary. Imagine the chaos of circus slapstick combined with the meticulous precision of a choreographed ballet. Add ingenious, multi-functional costumes, throw in some hilarious sound effects and a cast of thousands played by four brave, versatile actors and you might get a vague idea what it's like.

On Thursday's sell-out opening night at The Lyric Theatre, the audience was agog for the first 10 minutes. I'm guessing a fair number may have arrived expecting to see a moody melodrama akin to the famous Hitchcock classic on which the play was based. I won't spoil the surprise for you, but although the plot is the same, it has been transformed into a whirlwind of action and comedy.

Once the crowd got the idea, it was utterly uproarious all the way through until the lights came up and the whooping, cheering, standing ovation began.

To give you a hint, the best bits in my opinion included the milkman scene, the train journey, the grace before meals, the police chase, the lisping sheriff, the slo-mo fisticuffs, the political speech and the sleazy stocking scene.

The 39 Steps is like nothing you've seen before or will see again. It's here from the West End for just three weeks. Don't miss it.

Five stars

Belfast Telegraph

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