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The 39 Steps Celebrates 1000th Performance March 4 with Charity Performance


On Wednesday 4 March at 8 p.m. Patrick Barlow's adaptation of The 39 Steps, directed by Maria Aitken, will celebrate its 1000th performance at the Criterion Theatre. Now in its third year, the show opened on 14 September 2006 and has since enjoyed 1000 hilarious performances delighting audiences from London and beyond.

As well as 300 pairs of seamed nylon stockings, the Criterion Theatre production has used the following props across these 1000 performances:

· 15 pairs of handcuffs

· 200 O/S maps of Scotland

· 5 bin liners of paper snow & 200 litres of wet snow fluid

· 5 x 1930s black GPO telephones

· 6 Olympic 38 Blank firing revolvers & 2000 x 38 blank 9mm cartridges

· 125 x 1935 Repro Evening Despatch newspapers

· 1000 litres clear apple juice (whisky), 500 pints of skimmed milk & 1000 large uncut farmhouse loaves

A true international hit, this production is now running in 14 countries, all preparing the above props on any given night. On the night of the Criterion 1000th on 4 March, the Australian production opens in Canberra as part of a national tour, following separate seasons at Sydney Opera House and in Melbourne. Other current long-running and forthcoming international productions include:

· Broadway production, currently at the Helen Hayes Theatre, is now in its second year

· Also currently in their second year are productions in Seoul, Tel Aviv and an Italian national tour

· A Hungarian production opens on 14 March and future shows are in the pipeline in Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Russia, Japan, New Zealand, Poland and Portugal

A selection of the show title in the various languages include:

· Die 39 Stufen (Germany, where there are currently 3 separate productions);

· 39 Escalones (Spain);

· 39 Askelta (Finland);

· Los 39 Escalones (Mexico);

· 39 Basanak (Turkey); and

· 39 Stupnu (Czech Republic)

In the West End and on Broadway it has won the following awards:

· UK: Olivier and Whatsonstage Awards for Best Comedy

· US: Two Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards

And in 2008 the UK touring production of this hilarious 100 minute whodunit visited 23 theatres across the country to great success. Further UK touring is planned for 2010.

Maria Aitken's multi award-winning production contains every single legendary scene from the award-winning 1935 classic Hitchcock movie thriller - including the chase on the Flying Scotsman, the escape on the Forth Bridge, the first theatrical bi-plane crash ever staged and the sensational death-defying finale in the London Palladium, as well as the memorable and controversial ‘stockings and suspenders' scene (responsible for the 300 pairs as above).

Current Criterion Theatre cast are Nigel Betts, Tessa Churchard, Alan Perrin and Robert Portal. The 39 Steps is designed by Peter McKintosh, lighting design is by Ian Scott, sound design by Mic Pool, and movement by Toby Sedgwick. The 39 Steps is presented by Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Ltd and Tricycle London Productions Ltd in association with the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

All proceeds from this anniversary performance will go to Save the Children's critical humanitarian work to help the children of Gaza.



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