THE 39 Steps has landed at Keswick's Theatre by the Lake and it's a fast and furious showstopper.

This was author John Buchan's original take on planes, trains and automobiles and inspired the Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps and his on-the-run thriller North by-NorthWest.

Buchan’s pre WW1 action man Richard Hannay became an instant hitchcock hero courtesy of the dashing Robert Donat who could out-smoulder Connery's Bond. 

Add to this 1935 moody noir classic a dash of Bertie Wooster, a twist of Basil Fawlty and pythonesque japes and you have a slick, hilarious theatrical reconstruction already feted with accolades including an Olivier Award. 

News and Star: Olivia Onyehara and David HearnOlivia Onyehara and David Hearn (Image: NQ)

These versatile actors led by Dave Hearn as Hannay turn improvisation into an extreme sport with clever multi-faceted sets, dry ice, sharp quips, off the cuff stunts and lightning quick costume changes. 

The quirky quartet including Hearn, Olivia Onyehara, Niall Ransome and Lucy Keirl make the most of a superbly adapted script and optimal use of the cosey spaces. So be prepared for some impromptu audience interaction and spoiler alert - cunning use of balconies and theatre boxes.   

Hearn cuts a swashbuckling Hannay the unwitting protaganist embroiled in an international plot of high stakes, murder and romance. 

The crew cleverly shuttle you through mysterious spy-infested London with sinister pea-souper fogs to the ominous Scottish Highlands thick with intrigue. The death-defying Forth Bridge scene will have you on the edge of your seat. 

Iconic sets include the chase on the Flying Scotsman, the first-ever theatrical biplane crash and a death-defying finale. 

News and Star: Cast of 39 stepsCast of 39 steps (Image: Tony Bartholomew)


Visceral and vaudeville in the same moment the script has been meticulously rehearsed with gusto by in-trim actors always on the go - so you will need to keep up.  

This production never wanders far from Hitchcocks adaption of the novel and even its off-piste moments, smart barbs and physical comedy are a real hoot.

News and Star: Lucy Keirl and Niall RansomeLucy Keirl and Niall Ransome (Image: Tony Bartholamew)

The show is a co-production between Theatre by the Lake and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, who staged the production in 2018. The remounted show has been playing to packed audiences in Scarborough throughout July, and will play at the Keswick until September 2. 

A spiffing must-see production.

For ticket prices and bookings go to 39 Steps