39 Steps to the An Grianan Theatre!

Paddy Walsh

Reporter:

Paddy Walsh

It’s back! For one night only, this Saturday, February 25. The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group are returning to An Grianán Theatre with their hilarious play ‘The 39 Steps’. After their hugely successful run last year, the local drama group are delighted to be returning to An Grianán with the play before entering it into the Confined Drama Festival Circuit on tour throughout Ulster in March.

It’s back! For one night only, this Saturday, February 25. The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group are returning to An Grianán Theatre with their hilarious play ‘The 39 Steps’. After their hugely successful run last year, the local drama group are delighted to be returning to An Grianán with the play before entering it into the Confined Drama Festival Circuit on tour throughout Ulster in March.

A runaway hit on the West End and Broadway, ‘The 39 Steps’ mixes the Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller masterpiece with a dash of Monty Python farce resulting in a hilarious, and action filled night out at the theatre. The play has won wo Tony Awards and an Olivier Best Comedy Award in New York and London. To date, the Letterkenny Music and Drama Group have been the only amateur group to be to allowed to stage this very challenging play in Ireland.

Patrick Barlow’s stage adaptation of the Hitchcock film, from the novel by John Buchan, cleverly uses the exciting idea of every character being played by only four actors. Returning to their roles this year are Kieran Kelly, Elaine Gillespie, Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde and John Ruddy, showing off everything in their estimable bag of tricks to bring this enormously entertaining play to life. Among them they portray nearly 140 characters. Nothing has been cut from this hilarious and spectacular version of the spell-binding thriller – famous scenes include the chase on the Flying Scotsman train, the death defying escape on the Forth Bridge, the first theatrical bi-plane crash ever staged and the epic finale at the London Palladium!

Although a comedy, ‘The 39 Steps’ clearly honours the Hitchcock films it satirizes, with clever asides paying homage to the great director’s other films, such as Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest, Rear Window, The Birds and The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Set just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, the classic noir story involves a beautiful spy leaking a deadly secret to a man she’s just met - Richard Hannay (Kieran Kelly). When Hannay awakes to find the spy murdered in his flat, he has to go on the run to clear his name. On his journey, Hannay finds himself in various romantic entanglements involving a secret agent (Annabella Schmidt), Margaret, the much-younger wife of an old Scottish farmer, and wholesome English lady Pamela. Elaine Gillespie, no stranger to the patrons of the LMDG, brilliantly plays all of the women. The consistent and confident pair of Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde and John Ruddy, who between them deliver an outstanding array of believable and fully realized characters, play all the other characters of Hitchcock’s original spy drama. All these performances are as impressive as any you’re likely to see on any stage in Ireland.

Under the direction of the always dependable Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh – aided and abetted by stage manager Fiona Mc Daid and her backstage crew, sound engineer Paul Rooney and lighting engineer Niall Cranney- ‘The 39 Steps’ moves along at a breakneck pace, delivering laughs aplenty and demonstrating just how much fun live theatre can be.

The show is returning for one night only, this Saturday at 8pm sharp in An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny prior to touring to different venues throughout the province to compete in the All Ireland Drama Confined Festivals.

With ticket prices at only €12 & €10 there isn’t a better way to forget all this talk of recession and doom and gloom than to go out and have a good laugh with an excellent night of entertainment!

For tickets contact An Grianán on 074 9120 777 . www.angrianan.com, or just pay at the door. Be warned though, as with previous performances, early booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment! You can learn more about the group by visiting their website at www.lmdg.org.