The 39 Steps

Date 9th November 2018
Society Harleston Players
Venue Archbishop Sancroft High School
Type of Production Play
Director Paul Andrew Goldsmith / Katherine Vince

Report

Author: Terry Rymer

We have come to expect some superb productions from Harleston Players, but any self respecting drama group need to plan ahead. There is a certain satisfaction then when the younger actors come together and show what they can do….and in this production of ‘The 39 Steps’ they did just that. There was an overall feeling of energy and team work from all involved, and it was clear that commitment from the smallest part to the main characters was shared with total relish…and I mean relish… Not just there to make up the numbers ! The ensemble of various characters with some doubling up, are to be congratulated on their dedication which went a long way in making this production such a success! We had sheep, Policemen, Pilots, passengers on a train, the McTytes (Amelia Cook and Oscar Seaman, also as the dastardly Prof. Jordan), Mr Memory (Joseph Faulkner) with compere (Chanel Kirt), Milkman (Caitlin Hirst), Some really good Scottish accents from the McGarrigles (Lucy Raynor and Rachel Hall), Mrs Higgins /Mr McQuarry  (Esme Moss),  and some nice touches of humour from these young actors who seemed to understand the nuances of how to make us laugh, Salesman /Heavies (Gabriel Allum-Sindall, Aidan Tully) using the inventive setting box/cubes to advantage! The train scene was really well handled, good rocking and jerking!

Now this was a strong piece with no concessions to the lead characters and these roles were a revelation with Richard Hannay (William Woodrow) taking the lead role and showing real professional confidence and a characterisation which never faltered throughout. His was a real tour de force performance matched by his role partner Pamela Edwards (Jessica Brown), she was equally confident and convincing. They certainly sustained the suspense and belief, even when handcuffed together!  They carried their demanding lead roles with aplomb and were outstanding ! Well done!  Annabella Schmidt (Kathleen Carter) made the most of her somewhat ‘brief ‘ appearance and her final ‘exit’ was both tragic and so well portrayed, a real ‘stiff’!

The studio is a difficult venue but the improvisation of settings using the black box/cubes worked well and the efficiency of rearranging them, by the cast, to fit the scenes was smooth and unobtrusive. Some sound effect issues were not distracting and some even added additional humour…not in the least phasing the actors. This was a difficult piece for a youth group and Harleston can be proud of the outstanding job they did, giving the audience a real treat and deserving the lengthy and heart felt applause…Well done to all involved. What’s next?!!!