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Review The Wrong Women

PUBLISHED: 09:27 01 February 2010 | UPDATED: 07:50 02 July 2010

Chris Tracy

Today little more than a footnote in Hollywood history, Madeleine Carroll was in the 1930s one of England's brightest stars. Catapulted into the big time by her feisty turn in Hitchcock's The 39 Steps.

Norwich Arts Centre

Today little more than a footnote in Hollywood history, Madeleine Carroll was in the 1930s one of England's brightest stars. Catapulted into the big time by her feisty turn in Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, she went on to combine a successful screen career with humanitarian work, long before the likes of Angelina Jolie.

In this new show from local theatre company Play Off Productions, she is vividly brought to life for a 21st Century audience, courtesy of Karen Hill.

As Carroll, Hill looks back at the pivotal moment in the West Bromwich lass's career - Hitchcock's reluctant casting of her in what proved to be his breakthrough film, after the last minute withdrawal of another, preferred actress.

While writer-director Eve Stebbing and Mark David Nash add colour as a Mephistophelean coffee-shop owner and Hitchcock respectively, realisation of the show's potential inevitably depends on a strong performance from Hill - this she delivers, handsomely.

Successful as a foil for the film - shown after the interval - The Wrong Woman also effectively encapsulates the excitement of early cinema, as seen through the eyes of one extraordinary woman.

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