Dundas County Players to bring movie classic “The 39 Steps” to Old Town Hall stage starting April 20

Seen in image above: The Cast of "The 39 Steps". Front row from left: Kaitlyn VanKoppen, Rick Ventrella, Jim Perkins, Lynn Jolicoeur Middle Row: Tim Sisson, Marie-Therese Robinson, Harmony Koiter, Gaenor Howe Back: Mike Bonner Absent: Sabrina Ventrella. Courtesy photo

A hilarious retelling of a Hitchcock classic is about to be unleashed by the Dundas County Players in the Spring production of “The 39 Steps”  

WINCHESTER — Audiences are in for a heck of a ride in Dundas County Players’ upcoming show, The 39 Steps, to be performed on April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at the Old Town Hall in Winchester. The 39 Steps is Patrick Barlow’s comic adaptation of John Buchan’s 1915 novel of the same name and lovingly recreates Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 motion picture thriller for the stage.

Performances will take place on April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at the Old Town Hall in Winchester. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, April 20, 21, 27 and 28. There will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays, April 22 and 29. 

Tickets are $15 for adults ($10 for youths 18 and under) and are available through Paypal at dcplayers.ca, by contacting the DCP Ticket Line at 613-297-0097 or in person at the Planted Arrow in Winchester (501 Main Street).

The main plot stays true to the movie version; when Richard Hannay, played by seasoned actor Rick Ventrella, is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he finds himself pursued by German spies, entangled with mysterious women and caught up in an elaborate plot with the fate of the country in his hands. This, however, is where the similarity ends and pandemonium begins. The story’s more than 100 supporting roles are in fact played by a talented group of only six actors who change personas with lightning speed and precision. A hat put on or taken off, a cape thrown over a uniform, a change of accent and voilà!

Things get particularly wild and woolly when, during an early train sequence, two of the characters have to play a pair of women’s undergarment salesmen, two cops, plus the train conductor and a paperboy, essentially at the same time.

Director Tony Glen is very pleased with his talented cast and crew. “This play demands a substantial amount of physicality and versatility from everyone,” he explained. “Actors are relying on their comedic timing to captivate our imagination and keep our attention. We want the scenes featuring slapstick and tomfoolery seem easy and spontaneous when they’re anything but.”

In addition to playing multiple roles, the actors also pull and push set pieces on and off stage. Steamer trunks double as trains, cars, desks and beds, a single door frame provides entry into and exit from all manner of situations and scenes, a ladder becomes a fence and railway bridge.

Richard Hannay’s three love interests, the dark-haired spy, Annabella, the Scottish lass, Margaret, and the quintessential Hitchcock blonde, Pamela, are portrayed by Dundas County Players’ newcomers.

The 39 Steps takes audiences on an epic journey which will delight and surprise them with its energy, playfulness and humorous spirit. It’s a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. New this spring will be the photo booth in the theatre lobby. Don a fabulous hat or cravat from the Dundas County Players’ wardrobe and have a picture taken with your phone!

The Dundas County Players Theatre Society is a community volunteer organisation that promotes theatre arts in Dundas County. For the past 22 years, Dundas County Players has been providing quality entertainment including plays, children’s summer workshops, and cabarets.

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