IF you need to escape the world at large then this is the show for you –The Barn Theatre’s The 39 Steps looks like delightful simplicity served up on a stage but is clearly a production of hard work and non stop fun.

Cleverly managed by the talented director Joseph O’Malley, the production is a masterpiece of ingenious storytelling mixed with great tomfoolery and cutting-edge character changes.

Take a Hitchcock classic and add a dash of Monty Python and you have a fast-paced laugh-a-minute whodunnit for theatre audiences of all ages.

This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy is packed with over 139 zany characters, played by a ridiculously talented cast of four. The 39 Steps does feel like a spiritual successor to last year’s Barn Theatre production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, moving us to 1935 London, expanding the scope and keeping the hilarious interplay between classic story and a group of actors working at breakneck speed.

Max Hutchinson, as Richard Hannay, is a gentleman with irony in his soul, able to avert disaster with the merest twitch of a courteous eyebrow, until a mysterious female foreign spy played by Trisha Adele-Turner, is stabbed in his apartment.

Framed for murder, he heads for Scotland to trace her killer, evading arrest and assassins through inventive sequences and DIY ingenuity where even the Forth Bridge is cleverly depicted through the use of ladders and a plank of wood.

The two “Clowns,” Jonathan Bourne and Colin Elmer deftly play out scenes of comedy gold with their various characters whirling into a flying frenzy of changes and accents.

This classic duo have some of the funniest scenes in the show shifting identities faster than a field of political candidates., embodying four to six characters within the same fraction of a scene, and stretching their comic muscles to snapping point.

Trisha Adele-Turner brilliantly plays out a variety of parts from the prototypical Hitchcock blonde, Pamela, a Mata Hari type, to the downtrodden Margaret in rural Scotland. The Barn Theatre’s production of The 39 Steps is without doubt one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.

The frantic farce, jam-packed with slapstick humour, high speed chases, handcuffs and good old-fashion romance keeps you thoroughly engaged to the very end.

It’s a non-stop five-star feast of comic entertainment.