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Hitchcock is associated with serious, shocking, thrilling visuals. And "The 39 Steps" is one of the most acclaimed movies the ace director has made and is considered to be an influence on his later works. So when this movie is remade on stage, as a farce, it may generate quite a stir among purists. "The 39 Steps" play, written by Patrick Barlow, is quiet successful as a spoof of the movie and numerous other movies of spy and thriller genre. Last Sunday, the Indian version of this play, a joint venture of Evam and Radaan, was shown at Ranga Shankara, Bangalore. An attempt which have, as they tell before the show:
Sex appeal, fights, Scotland Yard, love, betrayal, car chases, silk stockings, French men, English women and murder..
The 39 steps, is an attempt to show a whole movie, scene by scene on stage... What is the big deal..? Four lead actors plays around 140 characters, with great comic timing and imaginative narration! Several scenes require very imaginative setting, like a stage show or a scene involving the hero jumping from a moving train, which they convincingly portrays with considerable skill and ease.
The play starts with a bored Richard Hannay, deciding to do something great, eventful, historic and brave that day and finally decides to watch a play. He attends the performance by Mr Memory, who has an ability to recall any trivial facts from memory. A fight breaks out and our hero finds himself accompanying a beautiful Annebella Schmidt to his flat. She says about a secret plan named 39 steps, by a militant to steal military secrets out of Britain. That night she is killed and Hannay is the suspect. He sneaks out and travels to Scotland. Pursued by police and militants alike, he embarks on a cat and mouse journey that ends finally in Mr Memory's program in London where in a final show down, secrets are revealed.
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Hannay is played by the lead actor, Naveen Balachandran, three other women who falls for him are played by Renu Abraham and other two actors, Karthik and Sunil, play every other characters like milkman, maid, farmer, villain, sheep, police, passengers and even some non living objects like trees and bushes with chameleon like ease, sometimes just by a change of the hat. (That train sequence is just hilarious.) Scenes from several other movies are also spoofed fleetingly. The motel in Psycho, chase with plane in North By Northwest, King Kong, Matrix...
I would recommend not missing this one... So next time it is in town, get on the 39 steps...