THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Theatrix group at peak performance with The 39 Steps

Mention ‘am-dram’ – or ‘ama­teur dramatics’ – and it’s not unusual to see people recoil, haunted by memo­ries of second-rate panto­mimes by inflated directors in need of a gentle reminder that they’re in a cold village hall in rural England, not the wings of a West End theatre.

ArtEntertainment
By Amy Bryant

Monday 17 June 2019, 02:00PM


However, Theatrix, Phuket’s vibrant theatre group, prove that it’s time this stereotype died a slow, dramatic, on-stage death with their re­cent production of The 39 Steps.

The collective CV of the cast attests to how the line dividing professional and amateur theatre is becoming in­creasingly blurred. Their appearances on stage and on screen, in prestigious theatres and in well-loved films and TV series, span decades and continents. All this came together for two sold-out nights at creative arts hub Underwood Art Factory on June 1 and 2.

The 39 Steps is actor and playwright Patrick Barlow’s 2005 parody adapta­tion of John Buchan’s 1915 spy thriller novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film of the same name. The plot follows protagonist Richard Hannay as he trav­erses Scotland to avoid being framed for a murder he didn’t commit while also at­tempting to take down the 39 Steps, an organisation of spies plotting to reveal British state secrets.

Audiences are transported to the Scottish Highlands by an inventive shadow puppetry display. The accents don’t quite make it so far north but that quickly becomes part of the fun. The Underwood family do a fantastic job in recreating a Flying Scotsman-style train carriage that nearly fills the length of the stage and even gently rocks as it chugs along imaginary tracks.

With just four actors playing a total of 30 characters, even playing multiple roles in the same scene, this is Theatrix’s most ambitious and chal­lenging performance to date for actors and technical crew alike. Remarkably, they pull off lightning-quick character, costume, prop, light and sound changes without a hitch. What was that about amateur theatre…?

The plot moves at the same pace, swinging pendulously between moments of edge-of-your-seat suspense and laugh-out-loud madcap hilarity. The venue is in one moment frozen in deathly silence and in another erupting in raucous laughter. Such juxtaposition has earned the play the tagline ‘Alfred Hitchcock meets Monty Python’. The Theatrix offering leans closer to the latter, es­pecially during the train scene which sees actors Joel Adams and Jesse Todd – Clown 1 and 2 – play a conductor, a policeman and countless passengers, ef­fortlessly switching hats and spinning across the stage as they do so. They capture the contained chaos of Python perfectly and are rightly rewarded with a huge round of applause.

Tony Edwards, who plays Richard Hannay, is the only actor to take on one singular role and in that way offers the audience some consistency. He is the rock of the performance – and indeed portrays the character’s sometimes stony allure – as pandemonium unfolds around him. His monologues are well-delivered and become the most poignant moments of the show.

Simona Grumezea is a similarly powerful on-stage presence, not only as the seductive spy Annabella Smith – the catalyst for Richard’s plight – but as the more timid, sheltered Scottish farmer’s wife Margaret too. Her portrayal of An­nabella is convincing; a thick, enigmatic accent sets the scene for espionage.

Plans are in place to bring The 39 Steps back later this year. Be sure to get a ticket. Comedy, drama, suspense and intrigue are only a step away.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/TheatrixGroup and the39stepsphuket.com or email Joel at theatrixphuket@gmail.com

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Tourism arrivals, spending hold as Chinese arrivals fall

Utter nonsense. First off, TAT has no way of knowing how much any tourist spends. And, 2nd, arrivals...(Read More)


Brit expat posts B90k bail on animal cruelty charge

90k bail for beating a dog mut kill people on the roads and no detention- what a wonderful place....(Read More)


Phuket Pad Thai hygiene goes on show

For example, how many gloves do these "chefs" use each day? I know about a couple like th...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Hit the dog

Re."Priorities"Mr.Fas. should know that everyone has his own priorities.And the incident h...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Hit the dog

A compliment for the PN for that opinion.Spot on. I love that species of expats complaining about b...(Read More)


Body of second missing Filipino found off Phuket

Koh Keow (Green Island) is 1 of 2 small islands in the south of Phuket next to Promthep Cape. Isnt i...(Read More)


Phuket readies for HM King’s birthday

Fascinated, it is clearly mentioned that no ban on alcohol sales has been announced SO FAR. What n...(Read More)


Cross Hotels & Resorts inks deal for new Phuket venue

To be clear, they are taking over an existing hotel, not adding a new one to Patong's already th...(Read More)


Phuket Poll: Environmental damage, prices too high

And what would Mr.K like officials to do about those high prices? Force everyone to sell food at low...(Read More)


PM Prayut calls out Phuket van driver for overcharging Aussie tourists

What has this water shortage talk from Mr.K to do with this article? And as he knows that there wil...(Read More)