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Five minutes about The 39 Steps

We sat down with the producer of The 39 Steps, the classic Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller, to find out more about the show!


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We sat down with Edward Snape of Fiery Angel Productions, the producer of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller The 39 Steps, which will be performed at the Norwich Theatre Royal between 18 and 22 June.  

Tell us a bit about the show. It is a murder mystery.  

Yes, it is, and this one is a ripping yarn, too. It’s a thrilling tale, and as with all murder mysteries, we want to know what or why. With The 39 Steps, you get the other dimension of it, which is not just a murder mystery; you have the whole extra layer of the spy story. 

At the centre of the story is the stiff-upper-lipped Richard Hannay. How would you describe him? 

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. 

There’s another clever twist with one actor playing Hannay while three other performers take on the 139 characters swirling around him. Is it exhausting? 

I’ve never been in it myself, but I can imagine it’s exhausting, hurtling around as they do. I have watched from backstage once, and the actors rush on and off stage, bang into each other, props are taken off, and props are brought on.  

And the audience is on the edge of their seats, wondering not only about the story and the spy thriller but also how on earth these four actors are going to do all of this in one evening. And that’s the joy of The 39 Steps - the spectacle of it all and four actors doing the near-impossible. 

The 39 Steps enjoyed a nine-year run in West End and toured to 39 countries and played. Are you proud of its success? 

It’s hard to come up with countries that we haven’t visited. At one point, it was the most performed play in North America in one year apart from Shakespeare. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? And it’s something that you can bring anyone from age eight to 80 to. 

What should audiences expect? 

More than ever, we want to laugh, and I guarantee The 39 Steps will deliver on that promise. 

The 39 Steps is at Norwich Theatre Royal between 18 – 22 Jun. For more information or to book, visit