Ac­tors show strength in num­bers

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Theatre - Tanya Macnaughton

MEL­BOURNE ac­tress Anna Burgess is not sure what play­ing mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters in ev­ery show she has worked on the past three years says about her, but she is cer­tainly hav­ing a lot of fun.

Her lat­est per­for­mance is in The 39Steps, pre­sented by HIT Pro­duc­tions, where she is a blonde bomb­shell, mys­te­ri­ous Ger­man spy and Scot­tish housewife along­side Mike Smith ( Win­ners and Losers) as hero Richard Han­nay.

“Then you’ve got th­ese two clown male ac­tors who play over 100 char­ac­ters be­tween them,” Burgess said.

“They swap and change on stage, which is a joy for the au­di­ence to watch and also a joy for us.

“Be­cause it’s all chore­ographed, it’s very seam­less and the au­di­ence should never feel the stress of it, although we felt the stress of it early on in the piece.”

Based on the 1935 Hitch­cock spy thriller film and novel by John Buchan, The39Steps had been on Burgess’s pro­duc­tion bucket list since she saw it in London’s West End 10 years ago fol­low­ing her role in Mel Brooks’ mu­si­cal, The Pro­duc­ers, which toured Aus­tralia.

Pay­ing homage to the spy genre, the stage adap­ta­tion fol­lows Han­nay in his race to solve a mur­der and the mys­tery of the man with the miss­ing fin­ger.

“I used to watch a lot of Monty Python and ’ Allo’Allo com­edy when I was younger and it’s got that same ab­sur­dity,” Burgess said.

“Some­times peo­ple think it’s just a bunch of silli­ness, which it is, but there’s also a great plot in there about find­ing love and mean­ing in life.”

Mike Smith, Michael Lind­ner, Sam Haft and Anna Burgess.

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