Receive the regular email announcement of new productions at the city theatre. They are doing a stage version of The 39 Steps. It says this:
I say! Looking for a jolly good evening's entertainment?
Look no further than THE 39 STEPS, taking place at the Theatre Royal next week. It's a thrilling tale, adapted from Mr Alfred Hitchcock's well known film, and won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy.
Follow the adventures of our hero, Mr Richard Hannay, as he attempts to thwart a sinister plot to undermine they very Britishness of our way of life. He's dashing, he's handsome, he's brave, and he sports a damnably fine moustache into the bargain.
Well, jolly good and all that, but, quite apart from the fact that Richard Hannay is supposed to be Canadian I say I can supply the irony for myself and tend to carry spare pocketfuls of inverted commas in case something needs hasty application thereof. However, I am sparing of their use, since I suspect some things come ready with their own, the great original 1935 Hitchcock version, being conspicuously well supplied, and yet - nota bene - still oddly thrilling, which I sincerely, without any inverted commas at all, doubt whether this stage version is likely to be.
Suggested moral: The more you flash your irony the less you have.
Here is a nice part of the Hitchcock. It has the extra ingredient of Comedy that serves in the office of Irony.
Better than the John Buchan original book, for precisely that reason. They might be basing the stage play on Buchan without knowing it, of course. What irony! And you get an election speech too, where you could spend a little time sorting the comic from the serious, and wonder whether the Britishness was worth defending. But that's about as much irony as my brain can cope with on a Wednesday morning. Toodle-oo.