It’s all aboard as a marvellous mystery and a damn good laugh are steaming through a second week of classic thriller tension, writes Paul Thomas.

Don’t miss this train, its a good ride as The Lady Vanishes continues to thrill and delight at Windsor’s Theatre Royal.

And with a star-studded class Bill Kenwright’s Classic Thriller Theatre Company has laid down the tracks on this new play based on the Hitchcock classic.

With husband and wife team Juliet Mills (Wild at Heart) as the heroine Miss Froy and Maxwell Caulfield (Dynasty, The Colbys) as nasty Dr Hartz, we are all waiting to see how and why Froy disappears.

When Socialite Iris’ travelling companion vanishes en route from Nazi-threatened Austria, 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 try to solve this perplexing mystery

And with a laugh-a-minute cricket-loving duo, played by Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey) and Ben Nealon (Soldier, Soldier) pulling the chuckle strings you know that this production won’t hit the buffers – it’s the old buffers that keep it on track.

The cast also stars Lorna Fitzgerald, fresh from her shock departure as Abi in EastEnders, Matt Barber, Atticus Aldridge in Downtown Abbey and Philip Lowrie, Dennis Tanner in Coronation Street.

I spoke to Mills this week about this amazing pre-West End tour. She tells me: “This genre in the theatre is very much my favourite, I love comedy thrillers. People like thrillers and they like to laugh so this gives them both. It’s a real mystery similar to an Agatha Christie....but here’s the thing, it’s not a revival, we are touring with a new play and it really is good.”

This wonderful adaptation and stage play closely resembles the 1938 Hitchcock classic...if you haven’t seen the film, don’t...see this first, you’ll be hooked.

Mills as Miss Froy is close to coming in from the cold... and some. Her acting is sublime, as is the whole casts’ as the whistle is blown on joke after joke, nuance after nuance and clue after clue.

Hitchcock brought a new feeling of humanity and warmth amongst his thrillers and this is a prime example of his mechanics, adapted by Antony Lampard from Gilliat and Launder’s original screenplay and directed by Roy Marsden (TV’s Adam Dalgliesh).

Mills says: “It’s a good period piece as well as a great thriller, whodunnit and why. People are interested in these frightening times when Germany was about to annexe Austria and the people in dark places who make things happen.”

This is a good yarn that will grip you all the way down the line.

So what’s it like working with hubby Max? “It’s heaven. We love hanging out together, touring together, going to new places, meeting old friends and making new ones. It’s lovely travelling, staying for a week, then packing up and moving on, it’s a real adventure.The great thing is we both have wonderful parts to play in this marvellous thriller.”

Mills, of course, is no stranger to the ‘Royal’. Coming from Denham, where she lived with father and national treasure, actor John Mills and mother Mary Hayley Bell and siblings actor Hayley and film producer Jonathan. The sisters played the wonderful drinkers in Bill Kenwright’s Fallen Angels here 20 years ago, and she has appeared in several productions at this glorious theatre.

She tells me: “I love Windsor and now we are in our second week, Max and I are going to do a bit more exploring to find out even more about this wonderful town.”

In a thrilling career spanning all of her life...she made her debut at 11 months old with dad in Noel Coward’s film In Which We Serve...Mills has many fond memories of her life on stage and screen.

She tells me: “I met Maureen O’Hara before I worked with her and James Stewart on the western movie The Rare Breed. I was on Broadway in Five Finger Exercise in 1960 and I played a part with her in Mrs Miniver on American TV. When I went on to do the film dad was so jealous. He told me he had always wanted to do a western. I had a brilliant time as I did acting with Jack Lemon in Avanti for director, Billy Wilder. They both became firm friends. Working with them was a dream.”

Of course, Pinewood Studios was not a million miles away from the family home and the Carry On films were in full swing. In 1964 she was cast in Carry On Dick, a take on the Napoleonic sea war sagas. She tells me: “It was absolutely hysterical. Kenneth Williams had me on the floor with laughter so many times and the boat we were shooting on was moored on Virginia Water so was very close to home.”

Last year remaining Carry On cast members were part of a 60th anniversary 15-day Carry On Cruising celebration where fans could watch 15 famous films and get to meet the stars. “It was lovely,” she says.

Mills says of this outing: “This is a wonderful night out.”

I quite agree. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ditch the tellybox and romp on down to the ‘Royal’ for a great start to the new year. As comedy thrillers go, it doesn’t get better than this. Or you can be boring and watch the same contrived stuff on TV.

Be warned, this is a quality act and you will be entertained.

The Lady Vanishes, Theatre Royal Windsor, until Saturday, January 19. Box office 01753 85388 or