4 min read
The stage and screen star Maxwell Caulfield tells us about touring with his wife, Juliet Mills, in the stage adaptation of classic Hitchcock film, The Lady Vanishes.
Maxwell Caulfield, what’s The Lady Vanishes about?
It’s a thriller set right on the eve of the Second World War, so there’s a lot of dark intrigue whirling around. Nobody trusts anybody and there’s quite a bit of subterfuge involved. The young heroine of the show is in the centre of a web of intrigue; she’s the only person on a train who can remember Miss Froy, who’s gone missing. No-one else seems to have clapped eyes on her, even though she knows full well they all did. The play explores what their various reasons are for denying her existence and being in cahoots with each other.
You’re playing Doctor Hartz. What’s he like as a character?
He’s an enigmatic character. He appears to be the only ally that the younger heroes of the saga can count on… but everybody seems to have an ulterior motive on this train.
Maxwell Caulfield in The Lady Vanishes
You star opposite your wife, Juliet Mills, and former EastEnders star Lorna Fitzgerald. What’s it like working with them?
Juliet and Lorna have a lovely relationship in the show which is pivotal to the overall dynamic. If you don’t care about their joint plight, it unravels. This show rises or falls on whether you care about the vanishing lady! I think they’re a winning pair and I’m very happy to be on board with them and twirling my moustache.
Are you excited about touring the show?
Juliet Mills and I very much enjoy touring the country together, driving on a Sunday to the next venue, discovering a new British town or city. It’s beautiful to drive through Britain and there’s great spirit in this country.
It’s interesting how different towns have different personalities. It’s a bit of a cliché, but a lot of our tour is up north and I’ve found the northern audiences are very demonstrative in the course of the evening, with either their laughter or their applause or how they greet you at the curtain.
Does it make a difference being able to tour with your wife?
It does. Home is where the heart is, so trucking around together you don’t have any enforced separation. It just makes the whole thing much more pleasant.
It’s good to be on this train hurtling through the night in a blizzard. It’s great to get lost in a good story. That’s what this is, it’s a good yarn.
You’ve had such an eclectic career, from Grease 2 to Dynasty and Emmerdale. Can you pick any highlights?
Even though I’ve gone to some exotic locations, it’s usually the stage where I’ve had a part I couldn’t wait to do each night.
I loved my experience playing Billy Flynn in the West End in Chicago and I very much enjoyed recently playing Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the show that I met Juliet on, which was The Elephant Man. I was fortunate to be playing the title role and I fell in love with her on stage in character, but needless to say off stage as well.
For all the jobs, one is always hoping and praying that this isn’t your last show. Our industry is fraught with the fear factor, but we also thrive on the adrenalin of it all. I hope there’s still some big challenges ahead, and that this tour of The Lady Vanishes will be fun and challenging.
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Read our Juliet Mills Star of Stage and Screen.
Read our SPOTLIGHT On: Alfred Hitchcock, Master of suspense.
The Lady Vanishes
Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, The Classic Thriller Theatre Company presents a quick-witted, devilishly fun thriller – based on the Hitchcock classic, ranked one of the Best British Films ever.
When Socialite Iris’ travelling companion disappears, she’s bewildered to find fellow passengers deny ever having seen her. But with the help of musician Max, she turns detective, and together they resolve to solve this perplexing mystery.
Emmy award-winning actress Juliet Mills made her screen debut at just 11 weeks old, in In Which We Serve starring her father John, and her major stage debut was age 16 in Peter Shaffer’s Five Finger Exercise, (West End and on Broadway). In ITV’s Wild at Heart she played sister to real-life sister Hayley, and for eight years she starred in US paranormal drama Passions. Award-winning Maxwell Caulfield’s screen roles include Grease 2 with Michelle Pfeiffer and as Miles Colby in American soap Dynasty and spin-off The Colbys. His Broadway debut was in J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and his West End debut was as Billy Flynn in Chicago.
The cast also stars: Lorna Fitzgerald, fresh from her shock departure as Abi in EastEnders; Matt Barber, Atticus Aldridge in Downton Abbey; Robert Duncan, Drop The Dead Donkey; Philip Lowrie, Dennis Tanner in Coronation Street; and Ben Nealon, Soldier Soldier.
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