The 39 Steps is based on a book by John Buchan, which was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. The movie is considered Hitchcock's masterpieces, full of suspense and action. So when Patrick Barlow started to adapt the movie to the stage, he needed to figure out the style the play would take, and he choose farce as the best way to translate the movie.
The story of The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay, a 37 year old (-ish) Englishman, who had a murder in his London apartment. He fled to Scotland trying to track down a clue left by the victim before she died. There he finds himself in a German spy ring trying to get some important information out of England.
The presentation of the play is an wonderful combination of live action and black and white film clips. Also the four actors played 50 different parts, which adds to the action.
Sam Gregory is very good as Richard Hannay. He plays the suave, urban, 37 (-ish) Englishman with wonderful reserve; he is the straight man, and lets the other actors do their parts to the fullest.
Victoria Mack plays the three major female parts. She handles the three major female characters well.
The two last actors played all the rest of the characters. Larry Paulsen, with his rubber face, and Rob Nagle are hilarious as the two clown with their frequent character changes---many on stage. This is where the play gets its action.
The play at 1:45 was short, but it very funny. There were the required references to other Hitchcock movies sprinkled through out the play. It was a fun evening.