HAVING dozens of characters in a production would be a daunting task for any theatre group but add to that a cast of just four and you would think it would be near impossible.
But the talented group the Norbury enlisted for the 39 Steps not only rose to the challenge, each of them also excelled in every role they played.
This is one of the craziest and cleverest stage shows you will ever see.
The scene designers and prop makers must have been working overtime for months to enable the characters to climb through windows, be hunted by fighter planes and travel via numerous railway stations en route to Scotland.
And that was what made this such a delightful and fun show to watch.
The fast-paced production takes visual comedy to a new level and the pure energy of the actors made it such a success.
Liz McCabe, Ed Butler and Mike Matthews frantically ran about the stage, enduring copious costume changes and pushing and pulling about plenty of props for scenes which had the audience roaring with laughter.
But Chris Sugars as the traditionally stiff upper-lipped Englishman stole the show as the self-assured Richard Hannay with his cool persona, sharp wit and James Bond style bolshiness.
There were too many great moments in this show to mention them all but among the highlights were the train trip to Scotland, the car journey in the second half and the scene where Mike Matthews played his best role as homely Scottish hotel owner Mrs McGarrigle.
At the start of the 39 Steps you wonder what you have let yourself in for and, as most of it becomes clear, you are still left wondering exactly what the 39 Steps are until the end.
But the lovable characters and constant change of scenery makes you put that to the back of your mind as you are wondering what will happen next in this unpredictable production.
This is a show well worth going to see and is guaranteed to be unlike anything else you have seen this year or this decade.
The timing was fitting with the Scottish referendum taking place next week and, who knows, depending on the way the vote goes, the final stagings of the show may be set in a new independent country.
If you are going to do anything this weekend or next, make sure you embark on 39 Steps (or however many it takes) to get the Norbury to catch this wonderful production.
Performances take place at the Friar Street venue tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) and then from Wednesday to Saturday (September 17 to 20).
Shows start at 7.30pm each evening and tickets are £10 (£9 concessions).
They can be booked online www.norburytheatre.co.uk or by calling 01905 770154