OCCASIONALLY the stars align, the fates are benign and Karma is kind.

Theatrically, these things don’t happen that often, but in the Eastgate Theatre on May 11-13 they made a celestial conjunction that put Tweed Theatre audiences into a state of delight.

Tweed Theatre’s production of “The 39 Steps” by Patrick Barlow is a spoof adaptation of Buchan’s famous spy novel that owes a great deal to Hitchcock’s brilliant re-imagining in the 1935 film.

Using the cinematic take as its bedrock, Barlow’s laugh out loud version spirals off from a straight introduction into a quirky, humorous, increasingly surreal universe of femmes fatales, languid explorers, incompetent thugs and ludicrous misunderstandings.

Richard Hannay (expertly played by Robin Murray) establishes himself in the opening soliloquy as a bored denizen of mid 30s London whose once exciting life now revolves around a dreary cycle of metropolitan clubs.

Annabella Schmidt (the multi-talented Val MacLean) bursts into his life and involves him in a crazy chase by mysterious agents across Britain to a bizarre denouement in the “Eastgate Theatre”.

Graham Mackintosh and Karen Hamilton superbly play innumerable characters crossing Hannay’s path as he strives to avoid arrest, drowning and shooting.

From underwear salesmen, police, thugs, unhinged hoteliers to milkmen and criminal masterminds, the two inhabit multiple identities with frenetically hilarious results.

Val MacLean returns, first as Margaret, downtrodden wife of a paranoid Highland crofter and lastly as Pamela, who becomes part of Hannay’s happy ever after.

This glorious send up boasts an unceasing pace with sparkling set pieces like Hannay attempting to extricate himself from under the unfortunate Arabella’s prone body, a surreal train journey where Hannay’s two lingerie salesmen companions change into various personas at a blitzkrieg rate and the finale where Mr. Memory reveals his crucial role in the machinations of the plot.

The backstage crew’s work – costumes, props, prompting, technical wizardry – did a marvellously deft job of bringing all the disparate elements of this stunning production together until it purred like a vintage Lagonda of the period.

Overall, triumphant laurels go to Sam French, the director, who had wanted to scratch this theatrical itch for years.

Even Sam felt at times in rehearsals that it was hard to keep up with the madcap changes of pace and character in the picaresque odyssey.

But he brought his vision and flair to create almost two hours of magic each night of the show.

The audience’s ecstatic response was best summed up by one delighted attendee at the final curtain call – “ I never had the slightest idea that there were only four of them!”