The 39 Steps Reviews - Criterion Theatre

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Venue Information
Criterion Theatre

Criterion Theatre
Piccadilly Circus

Seating Plan


The theatre can be seen on Piccadilly Circus next to the Eros statue.

Show Information
Booking From: Saturday, 5th September 2015
Booking Until: Saturday, 5th September 2015
Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Age Restriction: Children under the age of 5 will not be admitted.
Important Info: Seats in the rear stalls priced at £25 face value and classed as 'restricted view' have a slim pillar in the sightline. You will have a clear view by leaning slightly to the left or right. Strobe Lighting and Gunshots are used in this production.
Show Status: production_closed
Review Summary
Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 54 review(s)


Latest Review: "This is by far the best show I have seen! All done by just 4 actors the pace never lets up! The t..."

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    Monday, 21st Nov 2011 by Malcol H

The brilliance of turning this classic thiller into a comic farce is nothing short of genius, especilly with a cast of 4!! They were amazing. Every potential writer should see this to experience playwriting at its best. Wonderful. Will have to see it again.

    Saturday, 12th Nov 2011 by lulu

I must have been missing something. If 'pie in your face' humour floats your boat, then this will appeal to you, otherwise I would give it a skip. 0 out of 5 for comedy, 5 out of 5 for the energic acting performances of the cast.

    Sunday, 6th Nov 2011 by david way

A really brilliant, well acted and funny play. The pace was quite frenetic, and the acting (with many very quick clothing changes!) was absolutely first class.


A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining play.

    Thursday, 2nd Jun 2011 by Boxoffice Review

The Criterion Theatre has a history of great long running comedy pieces.  The Reduced Shakespeare Company played there for many years before moving off on tour.  The latest comedy piece to take up residency may well run for even longer at this beautiful and intimate theatre.  Now a multi award winning global phenominon having played in 52 countries this is a fantastically inventive and hiliarious take of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1935 film The 39 Steps.

Richard Hannay is bored.  The newspapers are full of stories of “elections and wars and rumors of wars.”  He wants something “mindless and trivial, Something utterly pointless.” Thus he settles on a trip to the theatre!  But little does Richard realise that his life is going to take a turn for the eventful as he becomes involved in a plot to steal British military secrets that will lead him on a frenetic chase and a quest to discover just what is The 39 Steps.

The piece is now in its 7th cast in London and is just as fresh, vibrant and funny as ever.  Rufus Wright, Laura Rogers, Dermot Canavan and Sean Kearns are the four actors who have the sizable task of playing 139 characters between them in around 100 minutes!  It is the inventiveness and crisp playing that make this  such a delight.  The piece is knowingly camp and yet I loved it all the more for that.  Maria Aitkin’s production is beautifully paced and the laughs just keep coming.  While there is only a cast of 4 it feels like there is a cast of dozens on stage many times throughout.  The action clips along at a frenetic pace and it would be easy to lose control of this runaway train of a story or become confused about who is playing who, but that never happens and that’s down to the skill of the writing and the creativity of the direction.

A lot of big shows in the West End would do well to look at the 39 Steps to see what brilliance can be achieved with comic physical storytelling at its best.  With any luck, it will be around for a few more cast changes to come.

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