The 39 Steps

Safeena Ladha in The 39 Steps
Safeena Ladha

A slapstick comedy with a thrilling twist and an incredibly hard-working cast is just the ticket for a fun night out at the theatre.

John Buchan’s intriguing novel The 39 Steps was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film and has been adapted into a play many times since, with the latest by Patrick Barlow currently making its way around the UK.

A stop off at The Theatre Royal in Glasgow, is giving Scottish audiences a chance to see this wonderful story on stage.

The play follows Richard Hannay (Jacob Daniels), a typical British gentleman quietly getting on with his life in Central London.

But after a fateful visit to the theatre, he becomes embroiled in a secret spy plot and is forced to go on the run as a suspected murderer.

As he makes his way across the country and into Scotland to find a way to clear his name, he meets a clan of comical characters, the majority played by Eugene McCoy and Maddie Rice.

Hiding on a train from the police, he bumps into Pamela (Safeena Ladha) who inadvertently becomes his love interest, and she is forced to go on the run with Richard.

Maddie Rice in The 39 Steps
Maddie Rice

As they race against time, the couple try to foil the plot, find out the meaning behind The 39 Steps and clear Richard’s name before it’s too late.

The result is a thriller with Laurel and Hardy type exaggerated comedy. All the actors are outstanding, especially McCoy and Rice, who play the clowns and switch through different characters with great speed, even twice in one scene, which is some feat.

Adopting daft accents and character traits, makes the play a hilarious adventure. Daniels as Hannay is an excellent and sophisticated gentleman, while Ladha, also takes on the roles of the other leading ladies, Annabella and Margaret.

Despite the multiple roles, the actors are so clever, you never mix up the plot and it really is a fast moving and fun thriller.

Peter McKintosh’s simple but effective set, with fake doors and windows used to hilarious effect, is complemented by subtle lighting and sounds from Ian Scott and Mic Pool.

The story, which has played out in The West End and Broadway, may be 109 years old, but is as fresh as a daisy for the modern audience.

The 39 Steps runs at The Theatre Royal, Glasgow until Saturday 1st June, before moving to Birmingham, Oxford, Norwich, Guildford, Brighton, York and Leicester in July before moving to the Trafalgar Theatre in London’s West End in August and September. For ticket details please visit: and

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.

Photographs by Mark Senior

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