The Lady Vanishes at Derby Theatre Review

7-12 October 2019

Reviewed by Katy Nettleton

A fun, professional show that will have you guessing what’s going on… who did it?!

A stage adaptation of Hitchcock’s 1938 mystery thriller following the disappearance of Iris’ (played by Scarlett Archer) unexpected travelling companion, Miss Froy (played expertly by Gwen Taylor).

The starting of the show was brilliant, the staging and the use of technology made the stage look like a real train station, you even felt the chill up your back from the way in which the smoke was used! My only slight critic of this opening scene was the inconsistent accents, both by the German police but also Iris. This was a theme within the show, and although it did not detract from the show and performance it did continue and made me loose concentration in the performance each time. 

Socialite Iris takes a knock to her head whilst waiting for a train connection due to an avalanche closing the station. Once she is on the train, she makes a friend in her travelling companion Miss Froy and take tea together. However, after a snooze sleep iris wakes to find Mrs Froy gone, with no sign of her ever being on the train, with no witnesses.

This was the start of Iris causing concern amongst her travel companions, no one would believe her on the presence of Mrs Froy, with no sign of her in the compartments and then the introduction of the creepy Doctor, Dr Hartz (played by Andrew Lancel). That is until Max (played by Nicholas Audlsey) finds a clue and then together they try and establish what has happened to Mrs Froy. This is where the show starts to take shape, with little jokes and antics from the cricket loving duo; the Motley Crew who brought laughter to the audience, with their conversations and little inuendo’s.

The scenes interchanged easily and there was very little “dark periods” between sets, this is due to the excellent stage design and the way in which the train carriages acted as a backdrop as well as the use of lighting and cast to move the tables and chairs around during the show, whilst the acting was continuing.

The show at times was slow, with the first scene taking a long time to get to the actual train journey but as the play went on certain scenes flew by. The ending scenes were funny, dramatic with over acting but exactly what it needed to bring closure to the best part of 2 hours.

Overall, I would give the who 3.5 out of 5, and would recommend people to go and watch a traditional thriller, which may not have the most complex storyline but one that will get you guessing what happened up until the end.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tickets cost from £20 (booking fees may apply).

The Lady Vanishes is at Derby Theatre from 7-12 October 2019, for more information or book tickets visit or call the box office on 01332 593939.

Derby Theatre, 15 Theatre Walk, St Peter’s Quarter, Derby, DE1 2NF | 01332 593939

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