Tickets going fast for “39 Steps”

The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group looks likely to sell out another performance of their All-Ireland winning production, “The 39 Steps”, next weekend.

The Letterkenny Music and Drama Group looks likely to sell out another performance of their All-Ireland winning production, “The 39 Steps”, next weekend.

“The 39 Steps” returns to An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny on Saturday, June 2nd, after sweeping the boards in every festival they have taken part in this year. The company followed up their All-Ireland success last week with top honours at the Ulster Drama Festival Finals.

In all, “The 39 Steps” brought home 55 awards this year for the overall production, as well as individual awards for the actors, director and other aspects of the show.

This, from a review of the play that ran in the Donegal Democrat when LMDG first staged the comedic romp in 2011: “‘The 39 Steps’ is a memorably inventive English comedy based on the classic 1935 Hitchcock film of the same name. The plot is the same, the characters are the same and in many instances the dialogue is the same. But the productions couldn’t be more different.

“In this version, four actors play upwards of 140 roles. There are plays on words and physical comedy by the bucket-full, but to call it slapstick doesn’t do it justice. With its split-second timing and incredibly creative use of minimal props, ‘The 39 Steps’ is a tour de farce.

“The play relies heavily on a hardworking cast that makes it seem effortless, and here the LMDG was particularly blessed: Kieran Kelly played Richard Hannay, the Robert Donat role in the film; Elaine Gillespie played the several women who in turn spurred on, hindered and aided his cross-country search for the shadowy cipher of the title, and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhrighde and John Ruddy played everyone else, including Mr Memory, other secondary and memorable women and even a bog hole and a prickly bush.

“Here’s an example: There’s a scene on a train in which a row of crates serve first as facing seats, then as the exterior side of the train that Hannay makes his way across, followed by the coppers, and then as the roof of the train as the men continue their chase. Eoghan and John portray a series of characters when the train reaches a station, from travelling brassiere salesmen, to police, to the train porter, to a boy selling newspapers, swapping hats and accents in rapid-fire exchanges with the manic grace of a circus juggler spinning plates on rods.

“While Kieran and Elaine played fewer characters – Kieran played Hannay throughout, and was on stage in every scene – their comic timing was also key to the success of the production.”

During director Pluincéad Ó Fearraigh’s remarks following the group’s performance last month at An Grianán, he said credit must also be given to the stage crew, who kept the scenes moving. It was testament to their abilities that the audience did not know of these people until they took the stage at the end to great applause.

Tickets are selling quickly for this return engagement. For information contact An Grianán box office, 074 9120777.

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