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All-Star Cast Do Hitchcock Proud In Classic Crime Caper
Strange things happen on a Paris-bound train as a woman mysteriously disappears - and her fellow passengers and staff deny any knowledge of having seen her. Such is the backdrop to this excellent thriller which has been based on a classic piece of work by the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The Lady Vanishes, presented by The Classic Thriller Theatre Company, is currently being performed at the Lichfield Garrick theatre in Staffordshire from June 17 to 22 as part of a UK tour. Adapted from the Hitchcock film by Antony Lampard, and directed by Roy Marsden, The Lady Vanishes more than comfortably meets the criteria of a classic period thriller.
The Lady Vanishes is set against the backdrop of fleeing Nazi Germany. Credit Paul Coltas
Emmy award-winning actress Juliet Mills, who made her screen debut as a baby alongside her father John Mills, leads a star cast as the lady - Miss Froy - who does, indeed, vanish. Sadly, this means she is not on stage for anywhere near long enough and it is, in fact, left to her new-found travelling companion Iris Henderson, excellently played by Lorna Fitzgerald, to try to discover what has happened to her, and why the fellow passengers in her train compartment deny her very existence. Fortunately for Iris, who is returning to England from Nazi-occupied Austria to get married, she eventually finds someone who believes her claims in the form of English engineer Max, well portrayed by the energetic Matt Barber.
Juliet Mills stars as Ms Froy alongside (left to right) Joe Reisig as the official, Mark Carlisle as Signor Doppo and Lorna Fitzgerald as Iris. Credit Paul Coltas
The impressive cast includes real-lifells' real life husband Maxwell Caulfield as the creepy brain surgeon Dr Hartz who does not appear to be what he seems. And his co-conspirators in the fabrication of Miss Froy's very existence are equally convincing in their portrayal, in particular Joe Reisig as the sinister Official. There are also fine performances by Robert Duncan and Ben Nealon as a pair of cricket fanatics, and Philip Lowe and Elizabeth Payne as a couple enjoying a secretive illicit getaway.
Maxwell Caulfield as Dr Hartz questions Natalie Law as the nun. Credit Paul Coltas
Despite the well-laid plans behind Miss Froy's apparent disappearance, the plot gradually begins to unravel as Iris and Max uncover vital clues. As well as the splendid cast, The Lady Vanishes also benefits from an impressive set which sees the stage convert from a railway station to a section of the train featuring a couple of compartments.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Left to right: Philip Lowrie as Eric, Ben Nealon as Caldicott and Joe Reisig as the official. Credit Paul Coltas
The Lady Vanishes continues at the Lichfield Garrick theatre until Saturday 22 June. Tickets priced from £24 can be obtained by visiting www.lichfieldgarrick.com or by calling the theatre Box Office on 01543 412121.