The Thirty-Nine Steps, The Bear Pit Theatre, Rother Street, Stratford, to May 19.
The storyline of this comedy by Patrick Barlow is based more closely on the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film than on the original 1915 novel by John Buchan.
The play opens with Richard Hannay (Tony Homer) explaining to the audience how he is “tired of the world” and “tired of life”. Little does he know as he sets out to see a stage performance of the Memory Man, that his life is about to change.
The excellent opening scene engages the audience immediately. This is followed by a series of events including the murder of a glamorous spy in Hannay’s London flat which causes him to flee to Scotland.
The hilarious epic journey through Britain is told at great speed. Natalie Danke–Smith and Roger Ganner portray numerous characters - policemen, a pub landlord, travelling salesmen, a newspaper boy and more - and it is the rapidity with which the pair switch from role to role that is so impressive.
The second act takes us through a series of adventures from a crofter’s house where Hannay is given a black coat and a hymn book that will later save his life, to Alt-na- Shellach, where he makes an unexpected discovery.
And after escaping from his pursuers once again, Hannay returns to the London theatre for the Memory Man with the beautiful Pamela (Carol Roache). At last all is revealed - including the meaning of the 39 steps.
This is without doubt one of the funniest plays I have seen in a long time. It's well scripted, and the wonderful costumes and clever stage all add to the fun.
But what makes this performance stand out is the quality of the acting. The four equally polished actors create a show that's well worth catching.
Grab a ticket now!
For tickets go to: www.thebearpit.org.uk