Spy story turned to spirited comedy

The Star reporter Brenda Harwood
By Patrick Barlow
Globe Theatre
Thursday, May 16


Good, old-fashioned high jinks were to the fore as a spirited cast presented a hilariously high-energy opening night performance of Patrick Barlow’s madcap comedy spy thriller The 39 Steps.

Directed by Rosemary Manjunath, the play featured an experienced ensemble cast — Thomas Makinson as lovable rogue Richard Hannay, Harriet Love as three women he encounters, and Brent Caldwell and Richard Ellis in multiple characters as the "clowns". Christopher Commander chips in as the radio announcer.

All were superb in their roles, and showed remarkable stamina, maintaining a cracking pace throughout a very physical performance, often involving lightning fast changes of the clever period costumes on and off stage.

The play’s many quips and silly jokes were tossed about in snappy fashion, and despite the tight confines of the Globe stage, chase scenes were managed brilliantly.

None of it makes any sense, but that doesn’t matter, in the hands of this top-notch Globe Theatre team, The 39 Steps is a jolly good laugh. Highly recommended.