Bedford School’s latest production, John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, came to a close on Saturday to rapturous applause from the audience whose sides were still aching from laughter.

This inventive, ingenious and hysterically funny plot was performed by a ten-member cast made up of seven boys from Bedford School, two girls from Bedford Girls’ School and one girl from Mark Rutherford School. The talented group of young drama stars had a challenge on their hands playing over 100 different characters between them. They did so splendidly.

Whether a comedy fan or not, the show did not disappoint. With its fantastical storyline and slapstick humour, brilliant comedy timing and quick-fire interaction – people were literally falling out of their seats with laughter. The young actors made great use of the stage, and, much to the surprise of people sitting in the first few rows, even ventured into the auditorium!

Set against a backdrop of vintage, art deco imagery and colour-changing lights, the mood took its audience back to this bygone era. It was made even more believable by the superb acting from Lower Sixth Former Jamie Williams, who portrayed the main character Richard Hannay. His clipped English accent and ability to submerge himself completely into character sent the audience leaping back to the 1930s.

It’s hard to believe that the cast was made up from school pupils – their stage presence and sublime acting was that of a professional. Fedoras off to all of them, they deserve all the praise for this fantastic performance.

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