THE star of Hit Pro-ductions’ latest play The 39 Steps is back on familiar turf when she performs in Warrnambool tonight.
Anna Burgess was born in Camperdown and spent her early years in Warrnambool, but was pleased to be back in the region where she has a lot of family.
“My mum’s side is the Askew family, so I come from a long line of farmers,” she explained.
“Lindsey and Lola Askew were my grandparents, they had a farm at Brucknell. It’s nice to be performing for my family and they don’t have to travel to Melbourne.”
As one of just four cast members, Burgess plays four roles in the comedy which is based on the book and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1935 film about a man who unwittingly stumbles on a murder and a plot to steal government secrets.
“It’s an homage to the spy story and Hitchcock,” she said.
“The humour is a bit ’Allo ’Allo, a bit Monty Python — it’s absurd, it’s pantomime, and it’s fun — and there’s an underlying romantic story.”
Her roles include the female protagonist Pamela, a Scottish housewife, a German spy and a pirate.
“I get to transform off-stage which is good, where as the guys have to transform in front of the audience’s eyes,” she said.
“I just finished a show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival on Groucho Marx’s life where I played 12 characters and had to change on stage.”
Burgess said she auditioned for The 39 Steps partly so she could work once again with director Terence O’Connell, who directed her in Crazy For You and 42nd Street.
“I’m a huge fan of the production, which I saw in the West End a few years ago and (in Melbourne by the Melbourne Theatre Company) about six years ago,” she said.
The tour of The 39 Steps will run until mid-November and clock up about 50 shows.
“The first show was (Thursday) night in Colac and it went really well,” she said.
“I think a lot of people were fans of the movie, so it was really well received.”
The play will be performed at Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre tonight and the Portland Arts Centre on Monday.