• Production image


february 2019 | Volume 176


Production image

  The cast of The 39 Steps. Photo by David Cooper.

Adapted by Patrick Barlow from John Buchan
Circle Bright Productions
Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 W. 41st Ave.
Mar. 1-10
From $25

New Vancouver Theatre Company
Circle Bright Productions Presents
The 39 Steps

with Mandarin Surtitles

Circle Bright Productions becomes the first Canadian theatre company to offer Mandarin surtitles to hit comedy, Hitchcock-adaptation The 39 Steps.

Far from a typical thriller, famed crowd-pleaser The 39 Steps is a theatrical tour-de-force where four virtuosic actors play over 100 comical characters. A cheeky parody of Hitchcock's slick and stylish mysteries, The 39 Steps swaps disguises as fast as its characters' banter.

In this hilarious whodunit, Richard Hannay (Jay Hindle) meets Annabella Schmidt (Ella Simon) one night at a London theatre. After a fight breaks out and a shot is fired, the two escape to Richard's flat. She tells him that she's a spy hot on the heels of two assassins (David Marr and Kazz Leskard) and is seeking the truth about the "The 39 Steps." At midnight, Richard wakes up to find Annabella murdered. Now being pursued by both the police and the assassins, Richard must prove his innocence while solving the mystery of "The 39 Steps"!

Speaking to the unique challenge of ensuring that Mandarin surtitles match the fast-paced, quick-witted show, Rodgers says, "I am so thrilled to bring this delightful comedy to life with Mandarin surtitles! Our high-energy production and clown-like characters already engage audiences of all ages and languages, but having those surtitles is just icing on the cake to ensure our Chinese-speaking audiences are completely up-to-speed on the play's fast-paced action. I can't wait to bring this big, beautiful play to as many Vancouverites as possible!"

Engaging Chinese-speaking audiences in Canadian theatre experiences is a high priority for Circle Bright founder and producer Hanying Chen. "Due to the language barrier, there is a large number of Chinese speakers in Vancouver with limited access to great local theatre. Some of them are new to the country and are still in the process of learning English, while some of them speak some English but are intimidated to attend a full-length English language theatre production. At Circle Bright Productions, our priority is to produce live performances that are accessible to everyone, especially to the Chinese demographic." 

On her selection of The 39 Steps for the company's first foray into full-production programming, Chen adds, "The 39 Steps is theatre at its best. It has the most intriguing and fun elements that the audience will need to have a great time in the theatre. In addition to the mystery and romance elements of the story, some of the hilarious physical comedy will be very entertaining even without the surtitles." 

The 39 Steps is the winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2008 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, and 2008 Tony Nominee for Best Play.


Directed by Sarah RodgersJay Hindle as Richard Hannay, Ella Simon as Annabella/Margaret/ Pamela, David Marr as Clown 1, Kazz Leskard as Clown 2.

Rehearsal Stage Manager Pamela Jakobs, Performance Stage Manager Tanya Schwaerzle, Assistant Stage Manager Zoe Beliis, Set and Prop Designer Drew Facey, Costume Designer Sheila White, Lighting Designer Gerald King, Sound Designer Murray Price, Production Manager Adrian Muir, Production Assistant Becky Fitzpatrick, Head of Props and Scenic Artist Tegan Klancnik, Marketing Specialist Patrycja Kamska, PR/Communication Amy Strilchuk



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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews