Marlowe Players stage Hitchcock thriller

The Marlowe Players are to present one of their most challenging productions since they moved to Darley Abbey 11 years ago: a stage version of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Lady Vanishes.

Director Martin Illston explains the difficulties: “The play is set on a train – in a railway compartment, outside that compartment and in a buffet car.

“It’s a huge thing to try to build a set which has all three elements. We haven’t got a wide space on our stage at Darley Abbey Village Hall, so trying to portray three different areas as well as a railway station at the beginning and the end of the play is quite a feat.”

Derek Webb has adapted Ethel Lina White’s 1936 novel The Wheel Spins on which Hitchcock based his film The Lady Vanishes. 

It features wealthy socialite Iris Carr who on a train journey befriends elderly governess Miss Froy. 

But when Iris wakes up after a nap she finds Miss Froy has disappeared – and everyone else on the train denies seeing her.

“It’s got a cast of 16 and there are some wonderful parts, people who have cameos playing a waiter or a nun,” says Martin.

“We’re trying to make the venue like a booking hall and front-of-house staff will be wearing railway costumes too. We want to make it an experience for the audience.”

The Marlowe Players will present The Lady Vanishes at Darley Abbey Village Hall from Tuesday until Saturday, March 19-23. For tickets call 07961 607372 or go to