HumDrum step out on a journey to mayhem

From left: Caz Gilmore, Phil Donald, Ben Counter and, seated, Sean Fisher make up the cast of HumDrum's The 39 Steps
From left: Caz Gilmore, Phil Donald, Ben Counter and, seated, Sean Fisher make up the cast of HumDrum's The 39 Steps
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HumDrum return to the Spring Arts Centre at Havant next week with their version of current West End hit The 39 Steps.

They promise a full-on comic re-creation of the 1935 Hitchcock film based on John Buchan’s novel – Forth Railway Bridge, bi-plane chase and all.

‘And it’s all created with a cast of just four and a few props,’ laughs director Sam Sampson.

He is taking the helm for much of HumDrum’s small-scale comedy work. He was responsible for their popular Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in 2009 and will be returning to that genre with The Bible: The Compete Word Of God (Abridged) in 2012.

He says: ‘Working with a small cast is much more focused, but it does have its problems.

‘In rehearsing most shows you can get away with having one or two cast members missing at rehearsal, and as we’re unpaid we expect that.

‘But with The 39 Steps, if I have two people who can’t make it, that’s 50 per cent of the cast gone and it’s difficult to achieve anything positive.’

Sean Fisher plays Richard Hannay, the largest part in the show, but he feels he has it easy compared with the rest of the cast.

‘Caz Gilmore plays Hannay’s various love-interests – assorted spies, Scottish women and innocent bystanders – and every other character is played by Ben Counter and Phil Donald.

‘In some scenes they are having conversations with themselves, changing character halfway through a sentence. It’s mayhem!

‘Watch out for the scene at Edinburgh station. If you can follow who’s who in that, you’re doing just fine!’

Counter is the Fareham-based author of many books in the Warhammer series and was looking for another creative outlet when he found HumDrum.

Never having set foot on a stage previously, he has now taken part in everything from musical theatre to Shakespeare.

Donald – appearing in his first HumDrum show – is studying creative and performing arts at the University of Portsmouth where he has appeared in numerous productions including Oklahoma! and Sweet FA.

He hopes to go on to drama school and a career in theatre.

n Performances from Tuesday to Saturday, daily at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets: (023) 9247 2700 or thespring.co.uk.