Courtenay Little Theatre’s fall production of The 39 Steps, now playing at the Sid Williams Theatre, is adapted from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 spy thriller by Patrick Barlow.
It has everything — a plot that has been described by the director, Vivien Douglas, as “a juicy spy novel with a dash of Monty Python,” an amazing amount of humour, much of which comes from actors switching between characters as quickly as they can change accents; and the fact that it is Broadway’s longest-running comedy.
The show begins with Richard Hannay meeting Annabella Schmidt, a mysterious spy.
The three women whom Hannay meets on his journey are all portrayed by professionally trained Millie Miller, the only female cast member in the show.
“Annabella is a seductive German spy,” she says when asked to describe them. “Pamela is a strong, stern Brit, and Margaret is a shy Scottish romantic. Since all of these women are already so different, it was easy for me to take each one and pick them apart to the smallest detail — even down to how they would sneeze!”
She adds that Margaret is her favourite character to play, due to her free-spirited romantic nature.
“It’s the one time in the show where I get to take my high heels off. I definitely savour that moment,” she says.
Hannay is played by Nika Berry who, in the late ’90s, spent two years working as an elf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he describes as “a once-in-a-lifetime, absolutely amazing experience.”
The 39 Steps continues at the Sid Williams Theatre over the Thanksgiving weekend, with a season-opening gala Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (curtain at 8), Oct. 6 at 7:30 and at 2 p.m. for a Thanksgiving matinee.
The show resumes next week from Oct. 10 to 13 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are available at the the Sid Williams Theatre box office, online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com, or by calling 250-338-2430.
— Courtenay Little Theatre