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REVIEW: THE 39 STEPS

PUBLISHED: 15:20 22 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:12 14 October 2010

IT comes as no surprise to learn that The 39 Steps, currently celebrating its fifth year in theatreland, is the West End s longest-running comedy. As quintessentially British as a pre-war glas

THE 39 STEPS, Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, W1

IT comes as no surprise to learn that The 39 Steps, currently celebrating its fifth year in theatreland, is the West End's longest-running comedy.

As quintessentially British as a pre-war glass of Pimm's on the banks of the Thames at Henley, there are scores of foreign tourists in the stalls of the subterranean Criterion tonight and they love every minute of this endearingly silly parody.

Performed by four actors taking on a dizzying 139 roles between them, this is a short, sharp romp through John Buchan's novel and Hitchcock's classic screen adaptation - not to mention sly riffs on The Birds, North By Northwest, Rear Window and numerous others as well.

At just 85 minutes long plus interval this is high octane, anything goes theatre that would lift the heart of even the most cynical of critics.

- MATT HUMPHREYS


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