The Thirty-Nine Steps

Ross Gumbley's witty, smart adaptation of the John Buchan classic thriller resonates with an all-too familiar contemporary global paranoia. The play follows the Alfred Hitchcock film and a recent West End theatrical spoof, but very much stakes out its own ground in terms of style. Feeding off British fears of enemies both within and outside its borders on the eve of the First World War, it's pumped up into a ripping good yarn.
Allan Scott of The Press described Gumbley's version as a "stylish and quite delightful take-off," whilst Lindsay Clark of Theatreview praises the craft and theatricality Gumbley brings to making the novel work for the stage. "Gumbley settles for direct storytelling from Richard Hannay, Buchan's hero," writes Clark, "with frequent cinematic fades into action sequences borne along by stirringly patriotic music and often embellished by wonderful models. A trio of actors plays a dazzling array of minor roles and the whole experience is delivered with a playfulness that is partly tongue in cheek deflation of the genre, and partly pure inventive fun."