Hitchcock spy classic The 39 Steps is given new life as an on-stage comedy.

Winners and Losers favourite Mike Smith has stepped off screens and onto the stage in the comedy retelling of classic Hitchcock film The 39 Steps, an award-winning play that features over 100 characters played by only four actors.

“I’m the fortunate one – I get to play just the one character, Richard Hannay – he’s the constant throughout the story,” says Smith. “In one scene the other actors each play about five or six different characters simply by changing hats and accents.”

Smith says the balance of plot and comedy proves to be the biggest challenge for the production.

“It’s essentially a spy mystery so the challenge is to maintain that for the audience,” he says. “They’re there to laugh and have a good time but also experience an edge-of-your-seat type of thriller.

“It’s a rollicking, fast-paced show, and I think we need to keep it humorous to keep it moving along.”

Despite enjoying his time on Winners and Losers, Smith says the stage is where his true passion lies.

“I wouldn’t want to shoot myself in the foot here because working with great television and film directors is amazing and I’d love to keep doing it, but if I did stage for the rest of my life as a working actor I’d die happy,” he says, adding that the unpredictability of theatre is what keeps his interest.

“On any given night one of the other actors may come up with something a little bit different and I always find that interesting.

“It’s also fun to get different reactions from the audience – sometimes the audience falls apart so we fall apart and we have a lot of fun together.”

The 39 Steps plays at Twelfth Night Theatre from 21-26 October. For more info, visit our event guide.