The 39 Steps

Charlie Cousins Yvette Turner Sorab Kaikobad and Jackson McGovern to star in The 39 Steps photo by Cameron GrantA satirical homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece that blends nail-biting suspense with a dash of Monty Python, Hearth Theatre presents The 39 Steps at Chapel Off Chapel from 8 March 2024.

A man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organisation called ‘The 39 Steps’ is hot on the trail with a nationwide manhunt culminating in a death-defying finale.

Adapted by Patrick Barlow, rom the novel by John Buchan and the film by Alfred Hitchcock, this Tony and Olivier Award-winning farce first took the West End by storm in 2006 and ran for an extraordinary 9 years, making it the fifth-longest running play in West End history.

Packed with non-stop laughs and laced with some good old-fashioned, film noir romance, The 39 Steps showcases the incredible talents of just four actors as they take on over 150 madcap characters and contend with an onstage plane crash, handcuffs and… missing fingers.

Hearth Theatre founder Charlie Cousins (ABC’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries) will direct and star in this ambitious four-hander alongside a remarkable cast including Sorab Kaikobad (ABC’s The Newsreader), Jackson McGovern (Australian Shakespeare Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Yvette Turner (Hearth Theatre’s Death of a Salesman).

The creative team includes Eloise Kent (Set & Costume Designer), Niklas Pajanti (Lighting Designer), Justin Gardam (Sound Designer) and Emma Parfitt (Production Manager & Associate Producer).

Cousins shared his excitement to bring this timeless hit to Melbourne audiences before the company embarks on a nationwide regional tour later this year. “This play is pure joy. In many ways, it feels like a love letter to theatre and the myriad performing styles that have emerged over the past century,” he said

“It’s a clown show, a spy story, a thriller, a romance, all mixed with the most brilliant slapstick, vaudeville, and farce. The four actors are like a classic troupe of players trying to do the impossible and bring this epic story to life. We can’t wait to premiere the show at Melbourne’s glorious Chapel Off Chapel before touring it to regional centres around the country,” said Cousins.

Hearth Theatre takes inspiration from legendary UK director Mike Alfreds’ ‘different every night’ rehearsal methodology, built around the idea of disciplined improvisation. The structure of a scene does not change, and the text is spoken as written, but the way actors play within a scene can vary each night, ensuring every performance is the most alive it can be.

Featuring a riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, The 39 Steps delivers an irresistible evening of pure theatrical magic.

The 39 Steps
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 9 – 17 March 2024 (preview: 8 March)

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Image: Charlie Cousins, Yvette Turner, Sorab Kaikobad and Jackson McGovern to star in The 39 Steps – photo by Cameron Grant