The 39 Steps

Date 12th July 2019
Society Westovian Theatre Society
Venue The Pier Pavilion South Shields
Type of Production Play
Director Jack Young


Author: Foster Johnson

The 39 Steps is a comedy adapted by Patrick Barlow from the novel of the same name by John Buchan which even today stands well against modern espionage works of a similar nature.  It was therefore a great evening’s entertainment to see this comedy adaptation of the novel performed by the Westovians.

The Show is a four-handed piece of work in which the actors play all of the various characters portrayed in the production. As such this requires three of the cast to master a range of accents, guises and gender to deliver the fast paced piece of theatre. The only character to remain in situ,as it were , was that of the fugitive  Roger Hannay and that was given a clever twist as the part was undertaken by one of the female leads in the cast.

Under the skilful  direction of Director Jack Young and with minimum scenery but with clever use of stage props and lighting the show really rattled along at a great pace, and to quote the Director himself there was a wonderful freedom of creative expression by all, which was a must to deliver this interpretation of the play.

As for the cast themselves I cannot praise them too highly for their mastery of the roles which they played and portrayed with verve, freedom and enthusiasm.  Hannah Potter with an extensive and highly rated acting c.v. behind her undertook the role reversal as  Richard Hannay in her stride and delivered a faultless performance that was second to none.

Georgina Whale- Spencer as Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret just gets better and better and she played the multiplicity of roles superbly and was spot on in nailing the German, Scottish and English Rose accents throughout.

Jim Barton termed Clown 1 in the show was just that! He was excellent and at his comedic best in delivering the numerous roles of an enemy agent, spymaster, policeman (both English and Scottish) highland crofter  and wife and the mind reader Mr.Memory.

Finally but by no means least we had Dani Heslop termed Clown 2 in the show. What a bundle of energy she was and a treat to watch her performance. Like Jim she was a comedic delight and her facial and physical expressions and body movements had the audience in stitches, as she played an enemy agent, policeman and detective, crofter, wife and housekeeper.