The Beaver reviews Drama Society’s final production of the Michaelmas Term: The 39 Steps is a fiery comedy that showcases LSE’s long-lost ability to laugh.
The 39 Steps is Archer and Monty Python set to the backdrop of a tense spy thriller. When a mysterious woman is murdered in his home, Richard Hannay is thrown into an unexpected life of espionage and crime. Blamed for the murder, a nationwide manhunt for Hannay ensues. He’s simultaneously on the run from a mysterious organisation called “The 39 Steps”. Hannay’s adventure takes him across the country and ultimately climaxes in a deadly finale.
With the help of director Jennifer Fernandez Owsianka, the cast of four pull together an airtight performance. There are a lot of moving parts to this production, but they function like clockwork to create a comedic machine. The sound effects successfully supplement the humour at every possible turn.
In the lead role of the dashing(-ish) Richard Hanney, Alan Philip plays the fish-out-of-water bachelor with charm and swagger. Rotating around him are Anna Chedham-Cooper, Sam Rippon, and Layla Madanat. Chedham-Cooper plays the femme fatale and the wholesome housewife and everything in between. As the Clowns, Sam Rippon and Layla Madanat prove their ability at physical comedy and show consistent energy and a mental capacity to switch between characters in quick succession. An inconceivable range of wigs, hats and coats help the actors distinguish one crazy character to the next. Rippon’s convincing accents drew huge laughs from the crowd on the opening night.
Making a genuinely funny play is a tough task. But the cast and crew make us believe they could be professionals. With And Then There Were None and The 39 Steps, the LSESU Drama Society has had a fantastic first term.
Tickets are still available for the final performance of The 39 Steps on Thursday 6th December. Tickets can be purchased here at £3 for Drama Society members, £5 for students and £8 for members of the general public.