Around seven years ago, having had a taste of audiences’ enthusiasm for Alfred Hitchcock on stage when they produced the Australian and Hong Kong seasons of Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of The 39 Steps, Andrew Kay and Liza McLean, of Kay + McLean Productions, starting looking into whether they could get the rights to adapt Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1959 comedy spy thriller North by Northwest.
“We already had that relationship with putting Hitchcock on stage and we really adored that process,” says McLean. “ North by Northwest was by far our favourite Hitchcock film and we felt that if there was an opportunity to put it on stage, it would be quite different to what they’d done with The 39 Steps, which was more of a farce.”
But how to stage a film that included numerous action sequences including a crop duster and a chase up Mount Rushmore? Kay and McLean had no idea, but they knew who to ask – director Simon Phillips, who agreed to come on board with writer Carolyn Burns as adaptor.
Using actors interacting with miniature dioramas, cameras and on-screen projections, Phillips and Burns devised an inspired version that won Kay + McLean Productions the stage rights and delighted audiences...