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Monday 15 July 2024

Interview With Patrick Barlow & Edward Snape: The Creatives Behind 39 Steps @ Theatre Royal Brighton Give Us A Glimpse Behind The Scenes

Ahead of the award-winning comedy The 39 Steps coming to Theatre Royal Brighton, later this month, Patrick Barlow (Adapted) and Edward Snape (Produced) took time out to give us an insight into the production.
Credit: Mark Senior

John Buchan wrote the book in 1915 and Alfred Hitchcock turned it into a classic spy film in the 1930s, but the producer of the stage version of The 39 Steps feels the story very much resonates today. 

"It's set in 1935," says Edward (Ed) Snape of Fiery Angel Productions, "so there's a sense that the world is potentially at war with itself. 

"Sadly things haven't really changed since then in terms of one great superpower facing off against another great superpower, with spies in the mix."

As the Olivier and Tony Award-winning comedy tours the UK for the first time in eight years, Snape adds: 

"These themes are in the John Buchan novel and the Hitchcock film, and it still feels relevant now. 

"But the best thing of all is that this version is a comedy and I think people want that more than ever now. 

"They want to laugh. It's a story with suspense and drama but also absurd, wonderful comedy."

Patrick Barlow, who did the side-splitting adaptation and whose acting credits include Shakespeare in Love, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones"s Diary, Nanny McPhee, A Very English Scandal and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, feels theatregoers will also relate to the hero Richard Hannay, saying: 

"He has a realisation of what a dangerous world we're in and that we have to be really careful of people bullying us, totalitarian states and so on. 

"That might make it sound deadly serious but I hope it's also riotously funny. It's madcap and very fast-moving but with heart."

At the centre of the story is the stiff-upper-lipped, gung-ho, pencil-moustached everyman Hannay, who is mistakenly drawn into a world of dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents and devastatingly beautiful women as he flees for his life. 

One of the many clever twists is that Hannay is an innocent man on the run from the bad guys. 

"They're the villains, not him," Patrick points out, "and I think that really entices people. 

"Hitchcock did several variations on it, in films like North by Northwest and The Wrong Man, as well as The 39 Steps of course, and it's an ingenious approach." 

Ed agrees: 

"Here is a man who feels the world is against him and he's got to prove his innocence. 

"No spoilers, but he thinks of himself as unlovable, then he falls in love and finds that actually he is lovable."

This inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.

39 Steps at Theatre Royal Brighton from Tuesday 16th – Saturday 20th July 2024. CLICK HERE for tickets.

by: Mike Cobley




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Ravi Adelekan & Poundland Foundation

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Credit: Dean Koopman

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Credit Shervin Lainez

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