Downham group to stage West End hit “The 39 Steps”

Meet the DADS cast for The 39 Steps. From left are Kathy Philipot (as Margaret), Natalie Mills (Annabella Schmidt), Michael Cummings and Tom Tree (Richard Hanney), with Becky Reed (Pamela) peering through the window; missing from this picture is Steve Harper.

Meet the DADS cast for The 39 Steps. From left are Kathy Philipot (as Margaret), Natalie Mills (Annabella Schmidt), Michael Cummings and Tom Tree (Richard Hanney), with Becky Reed (Pamela) peering through the window; missing from this picture is Steve Harper.

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It’s curtain up next week for The 39 Steps, the next production by Downham Amateur Dramatic Society (DADS).

This play is performed with a cast of just six actors, who have to play 139 characters in a breath-taking 100 minutes of hilarity.

After a successful run over nine years in London’s West End, the comedy opens at Downham Town Hall on Wednesday for its four-night run.

The director, Robert Hornett, said: “It is a fantastically funny play, and it really doesn’t stop from beginning to end.

“We have had some very worn-out actors during rehearsals, however it has all been totally worth it. We are ready and raring to go and it’s going to be a brilliant show.

“One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay, three actresses play our three main women with whom he has romantic entanglements, and two other actors play every other character in the show: heroes, villains, men, women, and even the occasional inanimate object.

“This requires lightning fast quick-changes and occasionally for them to play multiple characters at once.”

The 39 Steps is a comical farce adapted from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock.

The Olivier and Tony Award-winning play follows its handsome hero, Richard Hannay, complete with stiff upper lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache, as 
he encounters dastardly murderers, double crossing agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women, all in an effort to foil the plans of an evil villain and save the country.

Tickets at just £8 are now on sale at Lewks in Wales Court, and are also available online at www.dadsdrama.org.uk

The production is staged nightly at 7.30pm from Wednesday through to Saturday, October 10, with the town hall doors open from 6.45pm. There is also a bar at all DADS performances, so you can really complete your trip to your local theatre.