The Thirty Nine Steps opens in Wheathampstead

Sarah Brindley and Steve Leadbetter, as Richard Hannay, in Wheathampstead Dramatic Society

Sarah Brindley and Steve Leadbetter, as Richard Hannay, in Wheathampstead Dramatic Society's production of The Thirty Nine Steps

Archant

A stage adaptation of a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie can be seen in Hertfordshire from tonight (Thursday).

Sarah Brindley, Jonathan Field and Robin Langer  in Wheathampstead Dramatic Society's production of The Thirty Nine StepsSarah Brindley, Jonathan Field and Robin Langer in Wheathampstead Dramatic Society's production of The Thirty Nine Steps

The latest production from the Wheathampstead Dramatic Society is Patrick Barlow’s award-winning version of John Buchan’s The Thirty Nine Steps, which has been running in the West End since 2006.

It opens tonight (Thursday, May 15) and runs for three nights at The Memorial Hall in Marford Road.

“Usually plays on in London aren’t available for amateur performances so we were particularly pleased that this turned out to be an exception,” said director Malcolm Hobbs.

“This version is based very closely on the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock. We have a cast of five playing over 70 different characters in settings as diverse as the London Palladium, a crofter’s cottage in the Highlands, the Flying Scotsman and the Forth Bridge, to name just a few.

“It has been a considerable challenge to both the cast, most of whom have to change character with great rapidity throughout the play – sometimes in full view of the audience – and also the production team who are dealing with over 10 times as many sound effects and lighting cues than are usually required and a play consisting of 33 different scenes.

“All this has to be achieved at breakneck speed and using a fairly minimalist approach to creating motor cars, chases along the side of trains, falls from bridges and crashing biplanes.

“We’ve even managed to squeeze in time for a sand dance.”

Malcolm added: “Cast and crew have risen to the challenges magnificently and the whole process has been most enjoyable, hilarious at times, albeit a great deal of hard work.”

Performances start at 8pm.

Tickets cost £8 and are available from Manor Pharmacy, Wheathampstead or Harpenden, online at www.wheathampsteaddramaticsociety.co.uk or by phone on 01582 621357.

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