The Lady Vanishes – Theatre Royal Bath REVIEW

Adapted from the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock film, Bill Kenwright presents The Classic Thriller Company adaptation of The Lady Vanishes.

When an avalanche delays a Zurich bound train, worlds collide and it soon appears not everything is as it seems.

This production has brilliant casting with some big names giving big performances. Juliet Mills is fantastic as the vanishing Miss Froy. The twinkle in her eye and the spring in her step draws you further into the relationship of her and Iris, causing you to be rather taken aback when she disappears from her train carriage compartment.

Lorna Fitzgerald and Matt Barber give compelling and energetic performances as Iris and Max. Their relationship is endearing and relatable as they turn from enemies to lovers. Their romance is only upstaged by the brilliant bromance of the cricket-loving, beer-drinking pair of Englishmen, played by Robert Duncan and Ben Nealon. Their comedy is sprinkled perfectly throughout the show and shines in moments of darker tension.

The plot started off slowly but quickly built in pace, your mind flitting from hallucinations to conspiracy to murder and back again. As I didn’t know the plot I loved trying to suss out the unpredictable Hitchcock plot and was easily whisked away on the journey.

Other than a slightly awkward sword fight, the production as a whole set a good tone of humour. The characters, in particular Matt Barber as Max, delivered witty lines well, giving contrast to the darker story.

Despite people laughing more than gasping, this comedy thriller built tension in the final few scenes with gunshots to make you jump out of your skin while the characters descended into chaos in the dining carriage.

“This sort of thing doesn’t just happen!” was the catchphrase of the evening. This is true, women don’t just vanish… and brilliant productions like these don’t just happen overnight. The combination of an excellent cast and Roy Marsden’s strong direction creates a rare gem of a comedy thriller which ticks all the right boxes.

All aboard for a first class production! The Lady Vanishes runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday February 2.

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