the lady vanishes

Based on the 1939 Alfred Hitchcock classic, which is ranked as one of the best British films of all time, this never-before-seen adaption by Antony Lampard is a quick-witted and devilishly fun thriller. 


When Socialite Iris’ unexpected travelling companion suddenly disappears, Iris is perplexed to find that everyone on her train deny ever having seen her. But with the help of Max, she turns detective, and together they try to solve the mystery of why the lady vanished…


Husband and wife Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield lead the star cast in the latest installment of the Classic Thriller Theatre Company.


Emmy award-winning Mills is the eldest daughter of Sir John Mills and most recently appeared alongside her sister in Running for Grace.


Caulfield is known for starring alongside Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 and for his role as Miles Colby in Dynasty and its spin off - The Colbys.


The cast also features Lorna Fitzgerald, Matt Barber, Robert Duncan, Philip Lowrie and Ben Nealon.


Steam trains, a bustling station, stacks of suitcases, and Swastikas. Our journey starts in an undiscovered corner of Europe however it seems the Nazis have found it. 


An avalanche halts a Zurich-bound train and the frustrated passengers swirl and collide at the station.


We are introduced to cricket-mad chums Charters (Duncan) and Caldicott (Nealon), lawyer Eric (Lowrie) and his mistress Margaret trying to keep a low profile, an affable Italian, a stern Nazi officer and outspoken, practical Max (Barber) who clashes with young socialite Iris Henderson (Fitzgerald) – returning to England to marry a lord.


And then there’s Miss Froy (Mills) - or is there?


Miss Froy accompanies Iris onto the train after a blow to the head leaves her feeling dizzy. Upon entering their compartment on the carriage, Miss Froy suggests that Iris has a sleep before dinner. Upon waking Iris discovers Miss Froy has vanished. Dr Hartz (Caulfield), a famous brain surgeon, deduces that Iris must be suffering from concussion and that she is the only person who has seen the elusive Miss Froy.


The simple set designed by Morgan Large, moved smoothly from station to train and to the final terminus with ease. The train carriage with its sliding doors to enter each compartment portrayed both rest and dining areas, with  smaller roles moving chairs and tables to dictate each scene.


With subtle lighting giving the illusion of the trains movement as it and the plot picks up speed through Austria towards Switzerland and its final destination, Zurich. 


The small cast lead you through twists and turns of subplots with ease and our journey terminated with its conclusion after a lot of high paced action with sword fights, shootouts, comedy and even a vanishing act.


I’m more of a musicals fan, but this Hitchcock classic has left me wanting more plays. 

Reviewed by Anthony Longden-Kirk at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

The show is currently touring until 27th July where it closes in Leeds.  For more information and tickets visit the shows website.