"It's a very challenging play to present and I decided to rise to the challenge. The 39 Steps must be performed at a great pace and the comedy timing has to be spot on. There are something like 110 sound and musical effects, not to mention the physical efforts required by the cast."
A professional actor, on and off, for the past 62 years, James has a wealth of experience behind him – and then some. He studied at London Drama School, then spent three years learning and performing a play a week in repertory theatre and appeared in the number one West End play Summer Seasons. Numerous UK television appearances followed, along with radio work and various commercials.
In WA, James has worked with Stirling, Limelight and Playlovers Theatres over the past 25 years, performing in or directing productions such as Breaker Morant, Showboat, The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady, The Importance of Being Earnest, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Hobson's Choice. His 2006 production of The Judas Kiss at Playlovers received best director, best play, best costumes and best supporting actor accolades at the annual Finley Awards.
"I have retired from directing three times but keep being persuaded back!" James said. "With The 39 Steps, I have an extremely talented team of people around me and the rehearsals are going well – I defy anyone not to have good laugh."
"The changing hat scene has to be seen to be believed – I would have to say that particular scene is one of the most tricky I've ever played.
"The 39 Steps appealed for a few reasons. There was the challenge of playing so many different characters and the fact I'd be working with such a talented and experienced director and technical manager, as well as a similarly well-qualified and experienced cast and crew.
"I've never been involved in a play that has been so well-supported by so many from the very first rehearsal. It should be an excellent production."
The 39 Steps plays at 8pm October 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. Tickets are $21, $18 concession, $16 children – book on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or at www.limelighttheatre.com. Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.