Actors show strength in numbers
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.