The 39 Steps: A Review

After seeing the review I did for Writer’s Block Magazine of their 2018 performance of The Importance of Being Earnest, the lovely people of the Queen’s English Theatre Company invited me to their new production: The 39 Steps, which was put together in a collaboration with West End actress Loveday Smith under the name QE2. They performed it tonight, and they will also perform it tomorrow, the 7th of December, at 15:00 and 20:00 and Sunday the 8th at 15:00 and 20:00, all in Amsterdam.

Originally, of course, The Thirty-Nine Steps was a 1915 adventure novel by John Buchan. Then, famously, it was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935, and a number of other adaptations for the big and small screen followed, as well as a theatre adaptation first created by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon (can you imagine being named Nobby?) and then adapted by Patrick Barlow in 2005.

I did read the novel once upon a time, but I barely remember it. I also once saw the play performed in London’s West End while I was in high school, but that, too, has faded from memory. What I do remember, however, is the funny, energetic, innovative Oscar Wilde adaptation the Queen’s English Theatre Company (QETC) put on last year. So I was excited to see what they’d do with The 39 Steps, and I was not disappointed.

A photo I took during intermission
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Live Shows of 2017

My live shows of 2017

2017 was a good year for me in terms of shows and stuff. Not the best maybe, but it was pretty great. Here’s a quick overview.

  • Harry Potter & The Cursed Child Parts I & II  – January 21st 2017 – The Palace Theatre, London

This was the theatrical highlight of my year. I know a lot of people hate The Cursed Child and I sort of understand why; I think I wouldn’t like it either if I hadn’t seen it live and obviously expensive live performances in London are not universally accessible and I’m not sure I agree with Rowling’s decision to do it this way, but she did, and I was lucky enough to see it, and I loved it. Continue reading

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)

I’m still raising money for suicide prevention everyone. You can donate here. But I’m also doing something that is equally as important, if not more so: raising awareness. You should all be aware that thousands of people all over the world are struggling with their mental health everyday. If there was more understanding for their struggle, the world would be a better place.

What I’m about to do now is going to be super-frustrating: let me recommend a play to you. It is a play you can only see if you can manage to travel through time, and it is called A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad).

I saw the play at the Edinburgh Fringe this August, and it means a lot to me. I won’t wax lyrical about life-changing experiences or some such, because of course the real life-changing experience was my depression itself. But to see my illness recognized, understood, and performed so brilliantly and accurately on stage was a huge relief.

The play is accurately named. Its presentation, full of glitter and singing and chorus lines, is super happy. It’s subject matter, ranging from alcoholism to depression and suicide, is anything but. The writers and performers have managed to unearth the comedy inherent in anything that is bleak or sad, and made use of that comedy without devaluating the terrifying experience that is mental illness. Bravo.

I always tell people that no one is alone in their fight against mental illness, but I don’t always believe it. Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones made me believe it, and that felt incredible. Of course you can’t travel back in time to see this play, but you can do the next best thing: read it.  Paperbacks and ebooks are available from Amazon