Review: The Lady Vanishes, Leeds Grand Theatre, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or at

THE Lady Vanishes...and this touring production will vanish from the memory rather quickly too alas.

Thrillers were once the staple of the Leeds Grand's summer season, comfortable, always there, like a beach chair at Sandsend, but the sands of change have seen musicals take over as the number one choice so often.

Impresario Bill Kenwright has many a successful musical production to his name but has always had a soft spot for thrillers too, latterly in tandem with The Classic Thriller Theatre Company.

The unique selling point here is that Roy Marsden's production presents a never-before-seen adaption of Alfred Hitchcock' s 1939 film, but then it does too little with it.

Nostalgic in tone and style, it rightly decides not to replicate Hitchcock's panache for mystery, claustrophobia and dark psychology, but fails to establish its own, more theatrical atmosphere, aside from the opening scene in a railway station in Nazi-invaded Austria.

Strangers On A Train, at York's Grand Opera House in February last year, had a far more impactful design for its train scenes. Lighting and sound design are both disappointing.

Lorna Fitzgerald fares well as socialite turned amateur sleuth Iris; Juliet Mills is an elegant, old-school Miss Froy, and Robert Duncan and Ben Nealon's cricket-loving, terribly English duo, Charters and Caldicott, provide comic relief, but German accents are erratic and climactic scenes need better choreography.

Charles Hutchinson