"Gold standard comedy"
-Time Out-

""The theatrical tomfoolery is to die for.""
-The Guardian-

""...an excellent balance between utter farce and intelligent wit.""

Sorry, The 39 Steps closed on 05 Sep 2015

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About the show

This fantastic stage adaptation has been running in London for a number of years, gaining mass critical and commercial support. Based on the John Buchan novel and the Hitchcock film of the same name, the play is fast paced and high energy, using only four actors in over 139 different roles. This heavily stylised piece has had audiences from all over the world laughing, with its biting humour and visual comedy. The skillful adaptation remains faithful to the 1935 film, and includes many references to Hitchcock's other famous films such as 'North by Northwest' and 'Vertigo'.

A murder in a London flat leads to a detective story that takes our leading man to the Highlands of Scotland, involving multiple chase sequences, train walking and swinging from the Forth Bridge. As the search for 'the 39 steps' develops, a colourful cast of characters push the story along from the extreme to the ridiculous. This play has been seen all over the world and continues to mount brand new international productions. The combination of expertly timed physical theatre, visual humour and a witty script make this one of the funniest evenings you can have in a theatre.

Who Should See It?

Fans of the Hitchcock film will appreciate the innovation of this adaptation, and those coming to it for the first time will find joy in the expertly stage lightning paced comedy. Villains, assassins and femme fatales come together to create a spoof spy thriller, so amateur sleuths everywhere will be kept guessing until the final scene.

Please note that children under the age of 5 will not be admitted. Although the show is mostly family friendly, it is recommended for those over the age of 8 years old.


  • Richard Hannay - The hero of the play who searches to find the meaning of the mysterious '39 Steps'.

  • Annabella Schmidt / Pamela / Margaret - The various female characters encountered by Hannay throughout the journey to Scotland.

  • The remaining 100 characters are played by two men, including Mr Memory, Professor Jordon and the Old Farmer.


  • Olivier Award 2007: Best Comedy

  • Tony Awards 2008: Best Lighting Design, Best Sound Design

Playing at

Criterion Theatre
218-223 Piccadilly
Seating Plan

Criterion Theatre seating plan

Booking period

14th Sep 2006

23rd Sep 2020

5th Sep 2015

Running time

1 hour 40 minutes


recommended for children 8+