John Buchan’s The 39 Steps

by Patrick Barlow

Performed September 2013
(September 17 - 28, 2013)
at the Ron Maslin Playhouse
(10 performances: part of the regular season)

Directed by Sandy Wynne

Technical Direction by Karl Wagner


CLOWN Gordon Walls
CLOWN Andrew Williams
CLOWN Paul Behncke


Production Manager
Paul Behncke
Stage Manager
Katie Buller
Assistant Stage Managers
Meghan Duncan
Betty Francis
Martha Johnstone
Set Design
Dean Flockton
Construction/Painting Coordinator
Dean Flockton
assisted by
Amy Adams
Paul Behncke
Sean Behncke
Don Bell
Jim Clarke
Sharon Clewlow
Tony Francis
Ron Gardner
Brooke Keneford
Rosie Keneford
Barbara Kobolak,
Tom Kobolak
Jim McIlquham
Dorothy Shaw
Marie Veinot
Karl Wagner
Kaitlyn Williams
Sandy Wynne
Lighting Design Iain McCracken
assisted by
Alan Bauld
Ron Francis
Sound Design Rob Fairbairn
Tracey Nash
“Mr. Memory” Music Composed by
Megan Mitchell
arranged by
Rob Mitchell
BBC Announcer Voice-over
Lionel King
Hitchcock Voice-over
Andrew Williams
Tracey Nash
Costume Designer
Maxine Ball
assisted by
Ilona Henkelman
Marilyn Valiquette
Patrick Kay
Halia Osadca
Gwendy Tolley
Properties Joan Frommer
assisted by
Dave Anderson
Kathryn Clark
Andre Frommer
Carol Hussey
Weapons Wench Tracey Nash
Ilona Henkelman
Julia Lamperd
Ann Williams
Lynda Deguire
Shelley Harrison
Chrissy Hollands
Julia Lamperd
Carol Walkey
Green Room
Sheryl Bell
Lixin Chungphaisan
Nancy Cormier
Stephanie Hammond
Susan Nugent
Ann Williams
Paul Behncke
Wendy Wagner
Box Office
Gordon Marwood
Barbara Kobolak
House Manager Don Lillico


As a kid growing up I loved the black and white movies of the 30’s and 40’s and I could often be found in a garage, a basement, a park....putting on a show with friends and whatever costumes and props we could find, create or mime. My involvement in The 39 Steps has been a joyous one, partly as I’ve had a chance to reflect on these aspects of my past.

Theatre magic lies at the heart of Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of The 39 Steps story. Four actors, with a “let’s put on a show” bravado, lovingly pay tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s early talking film version of John Buchan’s spy thriller novel. Cobbling together whatever set pieces, props, costumes and wigs are at their disposal, the players do their earnest best to capture the entire 1935 film epic on the stage.

Of course, the undertaking of such a daunting task produces the fast-paced mayhem of quick character changes and the comedy of the inexact execution of best-laid plans. The moments of “planned imperfection” are part of the production’s charm and the audience will root for the actors as they confront these challenges.

Rehearsing and planning the production aspects of The 39 Steps is proving to be a huge treat for me. An enormous amount of intensely creative collaboration is afoot.

Actors are digging deep as they explore their many unique characters and the play’s theatrical and comic moments, while trying to balance the twin concepts of homage and send-up. Mike, Allison, Gord and Andrew have been fearless risk-takers; their blood and sweat, required by the many physical demands, have been mixed with much laughter.

Given the apparent simplicity of the staging, the efforts of the production team, put together by husband/producer Paul, and under the capable direction of Karl, are paradoxically sophisticated. The scenic, sound, music, lighting, costume, props, and special effects designers provide much of the 1930’s era texture. They assist the actors to take on the conventions of several film genres of the period: the spy thriller, film noir, melodrama and even early romantic comedy. Keep an eye open for the occasional nod to Hitchcock’s films in particular.

As we in the theatre know, without Katie, her stage management team and the crew scurrying, unseen, backstage, much of the onstage magic would not be possible.

The engaging performances by the actors and the evocative technical presentation of location, period, and high action should provide a lively evening of entertainment for you, our audience. Please sit back and enjoy all 39 Steps!